Authentic Engagement | Defining 2017

Looking over our shoulder to 2016, we remember a few landmarks that have provided important digital marketing lessons. For the mobile industry, efforts will refocus on gaining insights from metrics that can reliably define campaign results. And even though that sounds like what anyone would want from their analytics, specific cases in the past year have really set forth some interesting considerations as we move briskly into 2017. Authentic engagement is the name of the game.

2016 Under the Microscope

Digital marketers have come up against some worthy adversaries this past year, starting with the measurement errors disclosed by Facebook regarding ad reach. Both off-Facebook links and reactions to things like live videos went awry, painting much greater pictures of success than were true. The faulty metrics didn’t affect ad prices, and Facebook did promptly acknowledge the errors – yet with social being so much a part of marketing today we need more than guesstimates, especially false ones.

Honestly, the later half of 2016 had been a true digital marketing rigamarole – Fake news running rampant and newly uncovered Russian ad fraud operations cost some advertisers nearly $5 million a day rattled the industry. We’re still trying to figure out how to move forward amidst the ongoing “digital ad blocker war,” in which the casualties are impressions and authentic engagement.

So with large investments in digital ads being increasingly at stake, one of the biggest challenges is making sure mobile efforts are actually engaging users and providing added value.

Authentic Engagement…But How?!

Getting down to the essentials, we all want authentic, human engagement, but what does it really take to measure these metrics? Really, it means discerning the human eye and experience from ad bots and other nefarious actors. Combatting fraud may amount in part to advertisers demanding greater transparency when their money is supposedly being put toward human engagement. In turn, technology will hopefully keep up with these demands and become more sophisticated in identifying and flagging fraud.

We know that mobile marketing is here to stay, and given factors like connection type, device model, and the load time of creative formats, the result is an estimated 25% discrepancy between bid requests and fully rendered impressions. Hopefully, these impressions were made by humans, though we know that’s not always the case. The next step to really maximizing the authentic engagement of digital campaigns is the refining of counting methods in our ad fraud-ridden internet.

authentic engagement

Infographic from

For impressions, it can come down to just one second after an ad has rendered fully on a mobile device. Although it doesn’t seem like much, the human brain has indeed received the message intended by the ad, regardless of whether a person has clicked through to your landing page. This critical moment is what demands transparency and standard one click per impression models if advertisers really want to fight fraud. Thinking about your campaign’s success in terms of accurate, human engagement seems common sense as long as we can avoid getting tripped up by falsely reported mobile results and social media errors.

Whatever methods eventually become the standard, it’s clear that we’ve got a bit to go before we can get crisp, clear pictures of what our authentic engagement truly is. Here’s to working toward a more human 2017 – something digital marketing may need more than anybody!

Author: Track 5 Media

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