Dwell is best measure for Digital branding

Microsoft Advertising has issued an appeal to the advertising industry to adopt dwell scores as the de facto measure for digital brand campaigns and to only resort to click through rates (CTR) and page impressions for simple direct response campaigns.

It is supported by an extensive study conducted by Microsoft, in collaboration with Eyeblaster, entitled Dwell on Branding which analyses the power of dwell in the context of brand building campaigns.

The research was conducted across twenty different online advertising campaigns in Europe over six months, combining data from Eyeblaster and comScore it examined the effect that dwell score - calculated by multiplying the amount of time a user spends engaging with an advert with the rate of engagement - has on consumer behaviour following exposure to an advert. The results show that the higher the dwell score an advert achieves, the more positive a consumer's behaviour will be towards the brand after seeing it.

The study observed that high dwell campaigns were three times more effective at stimulating branded search activity versus lower dwell campaigns. In addition, the high dwell campaigns delivered a 69% improvement in a campaign's effectiveness at increasing brand site visits and boosting the amount of page impressions and time spent on the site itself.

Laurent Delaporte, Vice President EMEA, Microsoft Advertising, comments: "The success of an advert relies 75% on the creative, and 25% on its media scheduling. As tools and tactics to engage people online evolve, there is an increasing need for a measure that properly captures how an audience is responding to, and engaging with an advert in realtime.

If you evaluate your brand campaign success on click throughs alone you risk writing off successful campaigns as a failure. Dwell scores tackle this problem head on, and allow advertisers to better understand the true impact of their online marketing investment on their brand."

Although consumers don't necessarily click on brand advertising in the same way they would a traditional direct response campaign measured using CTR, they will often spend a significant time engaging with it. This is particualary true of rich media adverts, an increasingly popular area of investment for advertisers. Dean Donaldson, Director of Digital Experience, Eyeblaster, comments: "Our data shows us that consumers are 25 times more likely to spend meaningful time on a rich media advert then they are to actually click on it. The average time spent actively engaging with this kind of advert is 53 seconds, almost the equivalent of actively choosing to watch two 30 second TV adverts back to back."

Dwell scores offer advertisers the opportunity to relate digital advertising back to more traditional forms of advertising from an evaluation perspective. Delaporte explains: "By overlooking the power of dwell scores, advertisers also miss an opportunity to better benchmark digital against TV, radio and print. Dwell score is an extremely accurate measure of actual 'time spent' actively engaging with an ad, and in that sense is similar to the traditional 'opportunities to see', or OTS score used in other media. For that reason it is much easier to understand and evaluate at board level."

Microsoft's Dwell on Branding research provides evidence that a shift needs to take place in the digital industry. For campaigns geared towards building up brand loyalty and identity online, the measurement of success must move away from click through rates (CTR) towards dwell score.

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