Measuring in a Brand Marketer’s World, Part 1: Engagement

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lovetester_smallADOTAS – This is Part 1 of the new “Measuring in a Brand Marketer’s World” series from StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery team. The series focuses on how brand marketers can empower their campaign measurement by taking advantage of new platforms and user experiences. Each of these experiences holds the potential to gain deeper insight in how to best drive brand awareness and recall.

Winning Hearts and Minds

Brand advertising is about winning the hearts and minds of potential customers early in the purchase funnel. It’s an unfocused time when the consumer isn’t looking specifically for your product or service, so brand marketers should focus on the amount of time spent engaging that potential customer with their brand, rather than on executing a specific transaction.

Yet many don’t realize that when evaluating visitor engagement with a branded destination, most web analytics platforms only record a non-zero time-on-site if a visitor clicks to a second page on the same site during the same session. This is regardless of how long that visitor spent or what actions that visitor took while at your destination page.

So when the last page view is also the first page view, time spent on site is recorded as 00:00:00… even if the user spent 20 minutes immersing herself with your brand and sharing it with her friends! We’re effectively saying that a meaningful encounter with your brand — even one where the consumer calls her friends to chat about your offering as she stands in front of your window — has no value!

This is why metrics such as time spent on site and, in turn, bounce rate (the total number of visitors with one page view [i.e., zero-time-on-site visitors], divided by the total number of visitors to the page), provide misleading data for brand marketers.

Banners Don’t Work For Brands, But We Keep ‘Em Coming

Consider that the average Internet user visits over 2,500 web pages across 85-90 domains per month, over 58 sessions, making it extremely unlikely a user will linger on any given site long enough to notice – let alone engage with – your ad. On top of this, most forms of online brand advertising are optimized for a 0.15% CTR, or a 99.85% “failure rate.” Given these facts, it seems safe to say banner ads hold little promise for brand marketers to win the hearts and minds of prospective customers.

So What’s a Brand Marketer to Do?

There’s a silver lining in a rapidly expanding world of content (and marketers) competing for ever more distracted users, however. People are increasingly turning to services like StumbleUpon that enable people to efficiently discover content and information tailored to their interests: videos, articles, photos, comments, discussions, and more that they’ll love but that they may never have known existed.

Including branded content in this personalized stream of content and information can be a powerful way to successfully reach consumers open-minded to discovering new things. To this end, Paid Discovery’s senior product manager Jeff Eddings recently posted about how we launched our new marketing platform with the matching of user experience and expectation with a marketer’s objectives in mind. We built Standard and Premium plans so that you could see how long users engaged with your brand for any given Paid Discovery campaign.

Focus on Engagement, and All Else Will Follow

Ultimately, instead of a one-dimensional (and misleading) metric like time-on-site or bounce rate, brand marketers should look at a combination of time spent with your brand (awareness/recall), sharing activity around your brand (likelihood to recommend), and customer sentiment (favorability) toward your brand. While the industry (and StumbleUpon) strives toward this ambitious multivariate measurement goal, we suggest brand marketers at a minimum replace time-on-site with a new formula:

A high bounce rate/low recorded time-on-site is irrelevant at best if you’ve generated brand awareness with a customer from your landing page. You’ve done more than 00:00:00 of work with your branded content — you just can’t see it in your analytics.

Every second counts when it comes to brand marketing, and with Paid Discovery, you can track every second of every engagement from start to finish. Time Spent with Your Brand is available to all advertisers’ campaigns that are Standard or Premium. When paired with virality and sentiment metrics, we’re moving the most powerful brand engagement metrics from the offline world to the online world, making online brand engagement more marketer- (and in turn user-) friendly.

Originally posted on the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery blog — reprinted with permission.

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