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The black sheep of marketing: why view-through conversion is still important

Why you should not underestimate view-through conversion

why view-through conversion is important

To measure is to know. You can only invest responsibly in marketing if you know what works. Recently we have already mentioned how attribution models can help you. The click is central to traditional attribution models. But click-through conversion doesn’t often give you the whole picture of the customer journey. Also View-through can be a major factor in the purchasing process that the client goes through. But not all marketers know what to do with it.

What’s View-through conversion?

When we talk about view-through conversions, we are referring to the process where, after seeing an ad or a message on social media, a potential customer takes action without clicking directly on the ad. It may be that he sees an advertisement for a particular product, and at a later date he goes directly to the manufacturer’s website, or searches for the product first with a search engine. The classic clicks based on attribution models will not include the ads in their calculations, as they let the customer journey start at the search engine. But without the ad, the customer may not even have had the idea to look for the product, let alone buy it.

The problem with view-through attribution

There are substantial disagreements about the value of view-through conversion figures. Firstly, it is trickier to measure than clicks. How do you know for sure that the ad has affected the purchase? Could it be coincidence? It’s a lot less black and white than tracking clicks. Secondly, you can say that once you start adding view-through in your calculations, you encounter various ways in which a customer may have come into contact with your brand. You work on the border between online and offline, a difficult area to measure.
Yet it is important not to push view-through to the side too quickly. It might be difficult to measure, but it is undeniable that what we see plays an important role in our perception, and therefore in our purchasing decisions.

Seen is seen

The main reason to not underestimate the value of view-through conversion attribution lies at the basis that ‘seeing’ is a sense. It is undeniable that what we see has a huge impact on what we think, what we think of, and how we think about it. However, a large part of this process takes place unconsciously. Think for example of the impact of product placement in movies and on TV. As you follow the story of the film, you do not notice that certain brands come into the picture. However, these images are saved in your brain.

A little side note: Research of subliminal advertising has shown that these messages do not cause you to be encouraged to buy or take actions that you otherwise absolutely would not have done. However, it contributes to brand perception. Subconsciously you remember the brand and get certain associations. This can certainly help to ensure that your prefer a specific brand over others when you finally come to make a choice. Subliminal advertising for Galaxy therefore does not cause you to spontaneously get hungry. But when you’re looking for chocolate in the supermarket later that day, the chances are that you will have a preference for this brand over another.

Seeing in the digital world

Also what we are seeing in the digital world sticks unconsciously in our memory. The product placement that we see around us offline

and in movies, has developed popularity on digital platforms such as Instagram. The presence of a brand on Facebook also has an important purpose, simply to be seen.

Google has already been capitalizing on this since 2013 by offering the ability to only pay for ads that are seen. The ad must therefore not only be loaded on a page, but also actually be visible on the screen of the user. This is in direct contradiction with the usual Pay-Per-Click payment models which continue to rely on click-through rates.

While the measurement capabilities of view-through are controversial, you can not really deny that seeing ads is an important first step in the customer journey. Just as stores think about what the customer will see on their way to the shelf, digital marketing also has to reflect on the actual start of the buying process. Recording view-through in a proper attribution model can thus create value that should not be underestimated.


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