Economics of New Media Formats – Post Click Cookie Spraying??

There is a battle royal on between the post click & post impression camps in digital advertising & media. Clients are increasingly becoming aware to the metrics that make a difference to their marketing efforts and in a time when all marketers are demanding more from their investments, it looks like the post click camp is clearly winning.

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you will know what I think of post view conversion metrics. Generally I think they are BS and trying to find any link to a conversion from post view cookies that have been sprayed indiscriminately is clearly based on trying to prove value where value does not exist. Anyway…..if you’d like to review that post you can check it out here.

Today I came to work & logged on as I usually do, part of my morning ritual is to read the news online before they day starts and demands kick in. Today I experienced a new form of ad format developed by Fairfax & the smh.com.au. The format is a home page, page surround where the advertiser owns all space that surrounds the news content. Let me say I think it’s an ok idea for digital branding purposes, especially on a high traffic home page like the SMH.com.au. My problem though is if you unintentionally click anywhere outside the main content area, you end up on the advertisers destination site / page, like I did.

SMH.com.au

Post click cookie spraying maybe?

What SMH.com.au have been able to engineer is the spraying of post click cookies ( yes hard to think really), where the site will record an inordinate amount of post click cookies and hence conversions within a reasonable cookie window. Again it raises the debate of data rules, last click attribution, consumer journey’s, cookie deduping etc. Personally I believe that post click is the ONLY way to determine online value creation, in combination with well-defined data business rules.

I see this as a way that the publisher community MAY, be fighting the post click / post view battle in a way that is attempting to build value back into online display advertising and stem the tide from display into Search. Is it right or wrong? You be the judge. My view….the only clickable area should be the ad itself.

Comments & alternate views welcome….

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4 responses to “Economics of New Media Formats – Post Click Cookie Spraying??

  1. Hi Justin, here’s my alternative view:

    Whilst I completely agree that ‘cookie spraying’ is inappropriate (which I don’t actually think was the objective in this case) there is more to the matter of value creation than is covered here.

    Firstly, if a campaigns primary goal is brand awareness, it is unlikely that clicking for more information is the key performance metric. Home page take-overs are primarily utilised for awareness, not direct response. Yes AMEX were likely to have both reach and action related metrics reported, but I don’t believe a click would have been the lead metric here.

    Secondly, it is common practice for Search agency specialists to push the last ‘click’ as the ONLY way to determine value creation. This is only natural is it is how they are paid.

    It is short sighted, however, when you consider that the methodology fails to report what drove the search/click in the first place. There’s a good chance it was driven by marketing efforts elsewhere – efforts that the client had already paid for (eg TV, press, display). So you could say the client is therefore paying for the same action twice.

    What we as agencies need to do is work together to understand & optimise vs the true consumer path to purchase /journey – from awareness through consideration, intention, sale and retention. It is in the clients best interest for us to share this as our common goal, rather than to isolate the sale as the only performance metric. We don’t claim to have all the answers yet, but it’s certainly where us media agencies are heading.

  2. Thanks for your views Yvette.

    I don’t whatsoever question the value of the brand effect – not in the least. Secondly I’m also a proponent of understanding what other marketing channels and mediums drive consumer activity & I’m clearly aware that Search works better when it is integrated into a broader media program.

    My question though is why in the case detailed above make the entire black area, beyond the designated ad format was a clickable area. I just don’t get it. There would have been an inordinate amount of “false traffic” sent to this site. By simply making a window active again (clicking on it as I did), the publisher and advertiser recorded a post click cookie, which will have a significant effect on gross traffic, post click conversion metrics, CPC’s etc. This would be exacerbated the longer the cookie window length and hence heavily skew decisions and DR budgets towards media formats and channels that clearly created questionable value for the advertiser.

  3. I see your point, I just wonder if it was designed that way. My optimistic opinion is that it wasn’t built to intentionally drive ‘false’ traffic to the site but is likely the result of human error or bad judgement. So, not a direct attempt to deliver misleading results. Let’s hope so anyway….

  4. not sure i agree here with this one

    “What SMH.com.au have been able to engineer is the spraying of post click cookies”

    it’s just a clunky, awkward execution. i think it’s a bit much to imply there’s some sort of agenda behind the clickable area.

    all the fireplace/side panel ads on FD are generally entirely clickable – I’ve seen them for brands like Tiffany’s as well as finance brands.

    interesting analysis but i’d say you’re looking too much into it.

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