Spoiler alert. The answer is it depends. Taking a broader view it’s a concept that (to me) seemed laughable since banners and display ads first came into being. Digital display has always been more about brand advancement and staying top of mind. So what has changed? Really nothing at all, other than using digital tools to better evaluate collected customer and prospect data. This is the data that has been there all along!
We have first-hand evidence that there are ways to use digital display AND to have it connect to a positive ROI. To have the best chance of positive ROI for a digital display campaign you will need to focus on higher priced yet niche oriented products and services.
A few target areas to be considered:
Medical procedures – cosmetic procedures included
Keys to success:
- The tools must include a response based landing page or microsite with baked-in analytics to track user behavior.
- Set up a scoring system to evaluate user behavior. Activities that the user performs are given a point value – some are more valuable than others with purchase always being the goal. Yet for medical devices and procedures HIPA laws will not allow marketers to track the prospect would-be customer all the through the shopping cart. So the path to purchase is not always clear but attribution is always a challenge.
Use CPSA to evaluate campaign success.
What is CPSA? I am terming it Cost-per-significant action. Since each action has a point score the total points divided by the media cost to run the ads give you a CPSA. Then the value of the product or service can be correlated to the CPSA. For medical products without a clear path to purchase or procedure employment you then would correlate the actions in particular markets with overall sales in those markets. The higher the scores in a market, the lower the CPSA will be. Then the actual sales activity in the market would be compared to the behaviors of those that visited the landing page or microsite.
I will admit that CPSA is not a perfect measurement and I hope it’s step in a more accountable attribution method for display advertising. Can high value non-niche products (think automobiles, mattresses, etc.) find positive ROI employing the use of digital display advertising? That remains to be seen. As any direct response marketers knows there’s only one way to find out – test it!
We’re working on putting together some case studies and I will share when they are ready.
What do you think? Is CPSA a valid metric? Can digital display work on an ROI basis?