Agencies Follow the Money with Third-party Ad-servers

Advertisers and their agencies are increasingly moving away from the shotgun-style approach of placing banner ads and hoping for the best and are focusing on using analytical tools to gauge campaign effectiveness.
 
Janet Lalime, an account manager at Massachusetts-based ad-serving company Bluestreak, says that one tool they use is Conversion Tracking. “Basically, when a banner is displayed, a (tracking) cookie is dropped onto their computer, allowing us to see follow the user’s interaction with the advertiser through time.”
 
So when a user sees a flight fare advertised and clicks on the banner, or does not, the ad-serving company records that. The value to advertisers of course is that this sort of tracking allows them to gauge which banners are working on which websites. If two different banners promoting the same offer are garnering the same number of impressions, with one greatly outperforming the other in terms of conversion, then the advertiser knows to recalibrate the approach.
 
Furthermore, if a user clicks on a banner and goes progresses through the various pages of signing up for a program, or applying for a job, and leaves without completing registration, that too can be noted. Thereafter an advertiser can refine the registration process to minimize these drop-offs.
 
“If someone has been shown a banner and does not click on it, but then a week later enters the Web address and goes to that site, we can see that as well,” says Lalime. “It’s a bit more subjective, because it is not as direct as someone clicking on the banner, but it is still useful information.”
 
Another tool available is Story-boarding—bearing no resemblance to the military practice of water-boarding—which allows the advertiser to vary the banners that appear to a given user based on the banners that user has already seen. Instead of having the same ad popping up time after time, a narrative is established by displaying an array of such ads.
 

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