The Globe goes beyond clicks with the help of MOAT analytics

Cynthia Young is asked constantly to measure the number of clicks on a digital ad as a benchmark of its success. But Young, Director of Digital Advertising Products and Innovation at The Globe and Mail, is tired of hearing about clicks as the sole metric advertisers care about. She now feels it’s time to move beyond that single digital industry standard and start looking into other potential metrics as a way of rethinking brand advertising.

Young shared her insights on audience attention measurement with a room full of delegates at the INK+BEYOND newspaper conference in Charlottetown on Thursday, May 29. “We’re basically giving those impressions away because only three of them count,” says Young, citing the grim fact that only three of 10,000 links are ever actually clicked on.

While only a quarter of the money spent on brand advertising worldwide is dedicated to digital, Young acknowledges that display advertising is a $200 billion business that cannot be overlooked. This is why change needs to happen, she says.

Change is happening within The Globe and Mail digital advertising department. The national newspaper, along with 160 international publications, has turned to MOAT analytics to better analyze what happens to an ad before a consumer clicks on it. The American SaaS analytics company measures 27 different types of attention-related metrics, such as in-view rate and time spent, to teach both the publisher and the advertiser about the content on the site and the ways in which an ad campaign did or didn’t work.

These attention-related metrics on MOAT’s index and overall brand score are useful benchmarks for Young, who believes the digital advertisers who work with newspapers need to focus seriously on consumer attention to ads.

“We have that remarkable time with our readers when they come to our pages,” says Young, adding readers are rarely multi-tasking or second-screening when they are reading compelling content in newspapers.

And that’s why Young wants to know how users are engaging with the ads on the site before they decide whether to click or not to click. MOAT’s real-time analytics have the potential to show both publishers and advertisers if ads are sufficiently interactive for the readers (as well as the browser being used) and that’s valuable information that can be taken back to a creative ad agency. That way the salespeople within the newspaper’s department are encouraged to spark up a meaningful conversation with the creative team, who could try adding new features or ways to create compelling ads for future campaigns.

These attention-related analytics can encourage changes that can happen at the newspaper itself, by altering the website’s design or the placement and speed of the ads on the page, says Young.

With viewable impressions readily becoming the future of metrics through benchmarks such as the ones from MOAT, Young hopes she won’t have to hear just about clicks for much longer.