Creative Insights OVerview

Digital advertisers spend a lot of money running ads that generate a lot of data that can be leveraged for creative insights.  Unfortunately, other ad servers report misleading ad effectiveness metrics in their dashboards.  

Errors in Ad Server Dashboards

Watch out for the following errors in dashboards provided by other ad servers:

Last Touch Attribution: Most digital advertisers serve a rotation of creatives in order to leverage the multiple impressions usually served to each user.  This creates a methodological problem when it comes time to report conversions by creative.  Should an ad server double count conversions by all creatives that were viewed by a customer, or attribute the conversion to the last creative viewed by a customer?

Generally ad servers choose the latter option, and arbitrarily attribute conversions to the last creative viewed by a customer.  This approach as several problems.  Besides being arbitrary, ignoring the assisting role of creatives seen earlier in the path to purchase, this approach biases ad effectiveness metrics in favor of creatives that are weighted more heavily in the rotation.

No Creative Tagging: Often many different versions of creatives are trafficked for different placements, which undermines the ability to report at the level of creative elements or concepts.  That's why it's critical to be able to tag creatives based on their elements and concepts.  These tags are the basis for subsequent creative effectiveness reporting.

Not Controlling for Dimensions and Targeting: In any modest-sized media plan, the volume of impressions by creative will vary by dimension and by placement, throwing off subsequent metrics of creative effectiveness.  Are such metrics measuring the relative performance of creatives, or the relative performance of dimensions or placements that simply had more impressions from one creative than another?  

Confounding Media Changes with Ad Changes: Media tactics are changing constantly.  There are monthly changes, daily changes and often changes throughout the day in CPM, budget allocation by line items, frequency caps, and so on.

So, when the ad server changes the mix of creatives trafficked to a media target, are performance improvements due to the new creative mix or to changes in media tactics?  The truth is that there is no way to know, because media changes and ad changes are confounded in this common scenario.  Ad servers that report ad effectiveness across periods that include changes to both media and creative mix are heavily biased in favor of creatives served to the higher quality media.

Adacus provides an analytics dashboard built around the challenges of digital advertising statistics, providing advertisers with an array of creative insights.

Frequency Dashboard

The Frequency dashboard shows the distribution of users by how many impressions they were served during a particular time period, including the ad effectiveness metrics for each number of impressions.

(1) Campaign Filter: A campaign in Adacus' ad server generates a single ad tag and is equivalent to a placement in Doubleclick.  Each campaign in Adacus has a single Creative Decision Tree with one or more nodes that correspond to a creative target.

(2) Month Filter: You can filter the impressions by month to see the effect of changes in frequency by month.

(3) Impressions: This corresponds to the actual frequency of impressions viewed per user.  A frequency cap set in a DSP is just that, an upper limit.  The actual frequency is usually far less than this cap for most users.

(4) Distribution of Users: The bar chart on the right shows the number of users who saw each frequency of impressions.  The scale is at the bottom of the table.

Ad Effectiveness Dashboard

The Ad Effectiveness dashboard provides full-funnel conversion metrics for nodes within a Campaign's Decision Tree, which correspond to Ads in Doubleclick.

(1) Campaign Filter: A campaign in Adacus' ad server generates a single ad tag and is equivalent to a placement in Doubleclick.  Each campaign in Adacus has a single Creative Decision Tree with one or more nodes that correspond to a creative target.

(2) Date Range Filter: You can define a custom date range for viewing ad effectiveness metrics.

(3) Creative Target: A Creative Target corresponds to a node in your Campaign's Creative Decision Tree.  The Adacus Campaign/Node hierarchy corresponds to the Doubleclick Placement/Ad hierarchy.

(4) Full Funnel Ad Effectiveness Metrics: Adacus reports more conversion metrics than any other ad server, due to our integration with offline sales tracking systems.

Creative Attribution Dashboard

The Creative Attribution Dashboard is unique to Adacus, and uses algorithmic attribution statistics to report the relative influence of each creative within a creative rotation.  

This report is essential for rotation optimization, determining which creatives to include in a rotation and the weights to set for each creative.

(1) Campaign/Creative Target/Rotation Filters: A campaign in Adacus' ad server generates a single ad tag and is equivalent to a placement in Doubleclick.  Each campaign in Adacus has a single Creative Decision Tree with one or more nodes that correspond to a creative target.

A Creative Target corresponds to a node in your Campaign's Creative Decision Tree.  The Adacus Campaign/Node hierarchy corresponds to the Doubleclick Placement/Ad hierarchy.

Each Creative Target can have one or more rotations.  This is in contrast to Doubleclick where only one rotation may be assigned to an Ad.  Adacus allows multiple rotations to be assigned per Creative Target in order to facilitate easy A/B testing by automatically randomly assigning users to a rotation within a Creative Target.

(2) Creative: The legend shows the name of the creative for each section of the bar chart.

(3) Influence: The percentage influence of a creative within a creative rotation measures the percent of conversions attributed to this rotation that are attributable to this specific creative.  

Ad Serving vs Pixel vs Logs

Adacus' Ad Server dashboard can be used with Adacus' ad server or third-party ad servers such as Doubleclick.  When integrating Adacus analytics with Doubleclick, you have a choice between using the Adacus pixel and sharing your Doubleclick log with Adacus.

Wrapping your ad tag in the Adacus pixel allows you to avoid the extra cost of Doubleclick log access and allows you to benefit from Adacus' offline ad effectiveness metrics (e.g. call center engagement rate).  However, this only works for impressions going forward, and can't be used to gather creative insights from historical data.

To gather creative insights from historical data, you can share your ad server logs with Adacus.  This is as easy as giving Adacus access to the cloud server account where the logs are saved, Google Cloud in the case of Doubleclick. 

Creative Insights Overview

  • Errors in Ad Server Dashboards
  • Frequency Dashboard
  • Ad Effectiveness Dashboard
  • Creative Attribution Dashboard
  • Ad Serving vs Pixel vs Logs