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What Is Digital Marketing Success? | Steel Advertising
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What Is Digital Marketing Success?

The digital world opened up a whole new world of possibilities for companies. Banner ads, social media ads, ads on mobile devices, email campaigns, and Google ads are just a few of the many ways that a company can try to reach a consumer. But what determines if these ads are successful? Is it just the number of people who are exposed to the ad, like in traditional print marketing? Or is it something more?

Jonah Goodhart’s article “Attention is the New Currency” in Entrepreneur aims to define digital marketing success. An ad must be seen and people must pay attention in order for it to be effective. Impressions can’t be the primary determinant of ad success because there is no guarantee that the ad ever got an audience. An impression implies that an ad was available for someone to see and possibly be impacted by it. However, not all ads are physically viewed online. Goodhart introduces the idea of “viewability” as a more useful tool in determining ad success. Viewability goes a step beyond impressions because it determines if the ad was physically present to be seen by an audience. Once that basic criterion is satisfied, then the real determinant of success can be analyzed: attention.

Human behavior has changed in response to the massive amount of stimuli that technology constantly bombards them with. Attention spans have gotten shorter and more difficult to attract. Even if an ad is physically present in front of someone, it won’t do much good if the person ignores it. Attention must then be viewed as the new metric of digital marketing success. Did they hover over the ad? Was the ad displayed long enough for the key information to be read and processed? Did they engage?

Goodhart’s argument for the marketing success metrics to shift from impressions to viewability/attention is a good one. If an ad is viewable and attracts attention, chances are that it’s a success.