Media Channel Performance 101 for Marketers

Ad tech and media buyers have been preparing for Google’s bomb announcement from last week for some time now. Google’s Chrome, the browser used by more than 60 percent of web users, has chosen to not support “alternate identifiers” or alternative consumer-level identifiers. Alternate identifiers would help advertisers serve relevant ad impressions to consumers once 3rd party cookies go away. This is great news for internet privacy advocates.

This change impacts the ad serving industry for the display, online video and video/HTML5 display channels when targeting an audience using criteria like “Homeowner,” “Age Range 35-55,” “Interests: Health & Wellness” or the like. Defining audiences using criteria is primarily how advertisers approach advertising.

Infinity Direct’s approach to advertising is what we call multichannel direct. We model an audience for direct marketing, use the resulting file of name + address to match to those individual’s device IDs and serve impressions directly to the individuals in the email, display, social, native, OTT/CTV, online video (OLV) and video display/HTML5 display channels. This is a more effective method of targeting prospective customers, especially moving forward through ad tech’s changes.

Why is it important to target at the individual level first before targeting at the household level? Simple: less waste. When targeting at the household level, you’ll definitely serve a lot of impressions, but you’re serving to everyone in the household in hopes of getting to the individual you really want to target.

Once you move past the hurdle of actually getting an impression in front of your targets, the biggest questions are campaign performance and what is considered good or bad by industry averages. Many of the newer or emerging channels don’t have enough data yet to get as granular to answer questions like “What is a good click through rate for OTT ads for the home remodel or repair industry when using a modeled third-party prospect file.” What is available are averages across industries to help with benchmarking and knowing if your key performance indicators (KPIs) are on par.

The following benchmarks can be used when planning your first campaign, your channel lineup, in order to set performance expectations. Once you have a baseline for past campaign performances, you can use your own benchmarks to meet and beat with ongoing campaigns.

Multichannel Direct Advertising Benchmarks – Third-Party Data:

  • Display (Desktop): Click-through rate (CTR) 0.05% or higher
  • Display (Mobile): CTR 0.15% or higher
  • Social: CTR 0.05% or higher
  • Native (Desktop): CTR 0.06% or higher
  • Native (Mobile): CTR 0.10% or higher
  • CTV/OTT: Video completion rate (VCR) 75% or higher
  • CTV/OTT: CTR of 0.25% or higher for clickable inventory only
  • OLV: VCR 65% or higher
  • OLV: CTR 0.19% or higher
  • Email: Open rate 4% or higher & CTR 1.5% or higher

If you are looking for email benchmarks when sending to your own first-party data, you can expect open and click-through rates to be much higher than that.

Aligning Expectations

CTR and VCR are great measurements for creative, getting attention and engagement, but most marketers care more about conversions, which are really a measurement of the perceived value of the offer, alignment of messaging on the landing page where targets learn more about the offer and convert (e.g., make a purchase, submit a form, download a PDF). I wish we could know what an average conversion rate is, but since each campaign is so wildly custom and different, the answer unfortunately is “it depends.” It’s best to measure your own campaigns against each other versus comparing to benchmarks. This way you’ll know what your average conversion rate is and what rate you desire to beat in your next campaign.

Jenny Lassi • March 11, 2021


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