Google introduces new TV like metrics for measuring ads

A new Active View tool will measure what percentage of an ad is viewed and for how long

Google is introducing tools such as one that measures the percentage of an online advertisement that is viewed and for what duration, to help advertisers measure the effectiveness of their campaigns beyond impressions and clicks.

The standardized metrics used today are largely clicks, user interaction rates and conversions. But major brands are interested in things like brand recall and brand favorability, a measure of whether they think positively about the brand, rather than just clicks and online sales, said Neal Mohan, Google's vice president of display advertising in a blog post on Wednesday.

"The lack of these actionable, truly useful metrics is a key reason that many major brands have been cautious in embracing digital advertising over the past decade, even as high-quality content and millions of users have moved online," Mohan said, hoping the new tools will do for digital advertising what ratings and market research did for TV in the 1950s.

Google reported earlier this month that while its profit grew 61 percent in the first quarter, the average "cost per click" paid by its advertisers declined for the second quarter running, and was down 12 percent year-over-year in the first quarter. A part of the decline is because users are shifting from desktop to mobile browsing, where advertising is cheaper. The total number of paid clicks on its ads continues to rise, Google said.

Google's new Brand Activate initiative includes tools such as Active View, which Sanaz Ahari, a Google senior product manager, described in a video as a way to measure the percentage of the advertisement that was seen, and for what duration. The tool counts "viewed" impressions which by a proposed Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standard is a display ad that is at least 50 percent viewable on the screen for at least one second.

Another tool, Active GRP, is a web version of GRP, or a gross rating point, a key metric in offline media measurement that measures the size of the target audience reached by an advertisement campaign.

The tool which is being offered in a pilot program for DoubleClick for Advertisers clients as a first step, will roll it out to other products, with brands able to specify a range of audience GRP segments The tool will enable real-time decision making, allowing advertisers to make adjustments to their campaigns at the speed of the web, Mohan said.

Both tools, which were to be announced Wednesday at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York, will be submitted for accreditation by the Media Rating Council, an organization that accredits rating services and set standards.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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