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The Ups and Downs of Display Campaign Activity

Published: September 27, 2012

Author: Sean Nowlin

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.

–       Plautus

Being that I work remotely from my home in Cleveland, I travel back to our HQ in San Mateo about once a month. After doing this for eight months, I have started to become a true frequent flyer. Experiences at an airport, those that once drove me to the edge of sanity, now barely register. Red-eye home delayed three hours? Not much I can do about it. In these situations, it’s become something of a sitcom for me to watch the way travelers treat airline employees and vice versa. I’ve learned much about how to ride these expected waves of bad experiences.

Much like the ups and downs of airline travel, display results can also cause panic. The main reason is the view-through conversion delay (the value argument of said conversions is a topic for another day).
Depending on the advertiser and product, the view-through look-back window could be as short as a few hours or as long as a month. It’s the longer look-back windows that make looking at results daily a hairy experience. When I first got into the game, I started to look at conversion results, in total, on a daily basis. The variability of bidded inventory coupled with conversion delay caused a fire drill or two.
Since click conversions are often cut and dried, daily results are important. Clicks suddenly drop, and there could be a real site issue or problem with tracking. But if there is a multi-day (or longer) view-through delay, it doesn’t always make sense to look at the big picture every day. Among the important daily tasks, looking at impressions, clicks, and click conversions are up near the top. Depending on the look-back window, it would be more efficient to look at overall CPA, for example, maybe every week. Obviously your mileage and client needs may vary.  If you are monitoring the right things every day, then the weekly or monthly results shouldn’t be too much of a surprise either.
And it’s important to set expectations when beginning a campaign. For example, demand side platform (DSP) buying can take some time before kicking into gear. If you are picking the correct partners and strategies to begin with, results shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The key to all of this is a little bit of patience. Good planning and tracking should help in the long run.
Don’t be the rabid airport traveler, freaking out over the slightest issue.  Be Plautus.
Sean Nowlin, Sr. Display Media Manager

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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