Publishers Outperform Non-Publishers on Every Measure of Ad Effectiveness
Good news from comScore: Digital ads on publishers’ websites get more attention from readers and have a bigger impact on brand lift than ads on non-publisher sites. Earlier this month comScore released the results of a survey that measured the impact of several ad campaigns that were served across Digital Content Next (DCN) — an association for digital publishers — member sites and non-publisher sites. Across every metric of ad effectiveness — ad viewability, brand lift, and valid traffic — DCN publishers outperformed the non-DCN sites. And in some areas, the results weren’t even close.
This is big news for publishers, who are facing downward pricing pressures from programmatic ads and greater competition from non-publisher sites like Facebook. Given the results of comScore’s research, publishers can stand by the effectiveness of ads displayed on their sites and can justify charging higher CPMs.
ComScore gathered these statistics from brand lift surveys it conducted for 15 display and video ad campaigns. The campaigns were served on both DCN and non-DCN sites. 28 of the 75 members in the DCN were included in the survey.
Greater Brand Lift on Publishers’ Sites
One of the key metrics comScore measured was brand lift. DCN sites outperformed non-DCN sites by 67%, averaging a brand lift of 0.89 versus non-DCN sites’ 0.53.
ComScore further broke down brand lift by measuring how consumers recognized the brand at different stages of the marketing funnel. ComScore divided the funnel into an upper funnel, mid funnel, and lower funnel. In the upper funnel consumers are aware of the brand and can recall brand messaging. Mid funnel consumers are considering a brand’s product or solution and intend to recommend that brand. And finally lower funnel consumers intend to purchase.
Publisher sites outperformed non-publisher sites at every stage in the funnel. In particular, publishers are three times more effective in the mid funnel. “These data suggest that premium publishers may do a particularly effective job at moving the needle at this key phase of the marketing funnel,” reports comScore. The mid funnel is a crucial juncture in the consumer journey where consumers are weighing whether or not to purchase a product or solution. The power of publishers’ trusted brands can have a significant impact on this decision, and publishers must communicate that value to their advertisers.
Viewability & The Halo Effect Drive Ad Success
The report also revealed that ads on publishers’ websites have greater viewability than ads on non-publishers sites. On average publishers’ ad viewability rate is 50%, compared to non-publishers’ average 45%. ComScore notes that several reasons could contribute to publishers’ better viewability, including their lower rates of invalid traffic (2.2% invalid traffic compared to non-publishers’ 3.5%), more time spent on site, and greater effort on the part of publishers to optimize their sites for viewability.
But publishers’ value is not derived from viewability alone. According to comScore, publishers also have what it calls “The Halo Effect.” That is, ads that are surrounded by valuable content are more effective at driving consumer actions. By factoring out viewability from the overall ad effectiveness, comScore was able to measure the Halo Effect. It reports that publishers drive 51% higher ad effectiveness due to the value of their content. This is a major differentiator from non-publisher brands that publishers must emphasize when selling their inventory. Other sites might drive more traffic and capture more eyeballs, but publishers are delivering value and engagement that, according to comScore, non-publishers simply cannot match.
Read the full report from comScore here.