Monday morning (2/9) while going through a round of statistics checks on my accounts, I noticed something odd. I had launched some remarketing campaigns the previous Friday in one client account and they were showing view-through conversions .
So why is it odd? Because I had only launched this campaigns with text ads, this client is developing banners, but they are not ready yet. I checked the ads tab to make sure nothing was out of order. Sure enough, view through conversions are being reported in this account on text ads.
I promptly checked some other accounts. Out of the 4 I checked, I found view-through conversions being tracked on 2 and 2 exhibiting no view throughs on text ads. Thinking I may have missed an announcement or update, I checked the help center, which still indicates that view-through conversions are only tracked on image and rich media ads.
I can’t find any other documentation on this. Given that I’m seeing this in two accounts, my assumption is that a roll-out is in process to all accounts (rather than a bug of some sort). Hopefully if that is that case, it will come with at least an announcement. Advertisers that value their view-through conversions will see pretty dramatic jumps in the numbers.
The bigger question is, “Do text ad view-throughs actually have real value?” I am probably in the minority among SEM’s in thinking banner ad view-throughs DO have value (though rarely a value of “1”) but I’m unsure about GDN text ads. Text ads have a lower chance of being actually “noticed” when an impression is served. They are subdued; they require attention and “reading” to actually contribute to a purchase path.
On the other hand, AdWords has been serving many text ads recently in “banner-like” units which certainly stand-out more than traditional text ads on a content page. They are larger, more eye-catching and usually independent of other ad messaging, whereas the traditional GDN text ads often come in stacks of 2-4 ad slots.
What do you think? Are you seeing view-through conversions on your GDN text ads? Do you think this is a legitimate metric for AdWords to incorporate into view-through conversion tracking?
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Tyson Kirksey says
This is interesting, good find! I think I would be in the dubious camp for view-throughs on text ads. I’m with you already diminishing the value of display VTs since studies have shown that less than half of all display ads are actually seen (although I do give them some value). If less than 50% of display ads are seen, what is this figure for text ads!? 10%? 20%? My fear is that most marketers don’t know how to properly use or understand view-through conversions, and this will only make matters worse.
As a side note, this is why I like GDN Impression tracking in Google Analytics – you can create custom attribution models and set the value of an impression to something less than 100%.
I have also noticed this against some of my text re-marketing ads (only recently, perhaps because I am in UK?) and found your post after looking for further info of an announcement but have not found any and adwords help still states image or rich media ads and I am 7 months behind your original article.
I also think view throughs do have value and welcome that they are now shown against text ads.