Measuring Impressions: Google Announces Brand Activate Initiative

This is exciting news – especially for anyone trying to figure out how search can best fit into their marketing mix. We have been recently meeting with a number of clients who are not only looking to drive leads, but also drive awareness. When we’ve discussed Search as a branding element, we talk about impressions and brand interaction.  Unfortunately, impressions kind of leave us hanging.  It gives us simply the number of people who have potentially seen your ad. Yes, the ad was triggered, but did we even get the chance to capture the attention of this audience?  Have we truly made an impression?  Will they even recall who we are?  These questions have kept some marketers from making the leap to utilizing online for branding efforts. Online marketing continues to make up a larger part of the marketing mix, but from a branding perspective, it has been difficult for marketers to figure out how it compares with traditional media efforts.  GRP: Gross Rating Point is a term most often used by traditional media buyers to measure the size of an audience reached by a specific vehicle (frequency x % reached).  For instance a TV ad that is aired 5 times reaching 50% of the target audience has a GRP of 250.  There’s been nothing like that for online media, but Google is trying to change that. Google is partnering and supporting the IAB’s Making Measurement Make Sense coalition to give marketers some numbers they are used to seeing = more insight to what’s really going on online.  They are calling it the Brand Activate Initiative. The first of two Brand Activate solutions rolled out on yesterday is Active View.  Active View answers the question, “Was my ad even seen? Or even available to be seen?”   Google says advertisers will soon be able to pay only for viewed impressions: a display ad that’s at least 50% viewable on the screen for at least one second. The second solution, Active GRP, has 2 key features. The first is Built-In.  Active GRP is built into the ad serving tools which will (hopefully) make it easy to make real time decisions based on specific audience GRP segments  (Note: This is available initially for DoubleClick for Advertisers clients and will then be  rolled out to other products). The second is the fact that it uses robust methodology, which Google explains as, “Active GRP is calculated by a statistical model that combines aggregated panel data and anonymous user data (either inferred or user-provided), and will work in conjunction with Active View to measure viewed impressions.”   It should be noted that Google is submitting this for methodology for MRC certification. We like conversions and impressions, but this will give us the opportunity to determine where we are truly making an (lasting) impression for our clients!

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