5 reasons why marketers should love data and display ad analytics

It might not be everyone’s idea of the most romantic coupling but data and ad analytics have got magnetic attraction. With online display advertising developing in sophistication, data is providing new possibilities for marketers. Writing in the Harvard Business Review Wes Nichols calls this combination “of big data, cloud computing, and new analytical methods, analytics 2.0”. He believes that this merging of resources provides new insights for marketers.

According to eMarketer, customer-focused analytics is a key area of interest and investment for many organisations. One recent US survey by Deloitte found that 60% of businesses planned to invest in analytics. But why should creators of online display love data and ad analytics?

1. Increase performance

Use data and analytics correctly, and you will increase campaign performance. But to increase performance, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. And that insight is driven by data.

In particular, the metrics you use. This could be the data gleaned from consumer engagement of your display ads. For example, hovering, playing with a cube format, etc. Other useful metrics include click-through rate, conversion rate, and viewability. Knowing your metrics is key in developing an analytical understanding of how successful your ads are. Here’s a link to a blog on the different metrics available.

Analysing data can determine which domains provide viewable impressions. This in turn means you can choose the right publisher. To be precise, a huge factor in determining the success of display advertising should be viewability. Viewability is an issue that the ad industry is keen to address and will doubt become regulated and defined. Thinking about where to place an ad is an easy method of increasing performance. Using a publisher that is transparent and guarantees good viewability is step one.

2. Understand your audience

You have the right publisher, now you want to see who is engaging in the ad. Combining publisher data with your own leads to a better analysis of your campaigns audience. Using data like this can help to understand if an ad is working. Whether it is driving interest from known clients, or driving traffic from users who aren’t your clients – who is picking up the message? Is your campaign returning, or not returning, customers? Does it attract a different audience from the one you thought it was?

Combining a data management platform (DMP) with a creative management platform (CMP), like Bannerflow, or an ad server, allows you to understand this. Apply analytical tools to this data and you can see basic patterns emerge, like which time of day your ad is performing best.

Which might not sound ground-breaking but it’s another reason to love data and analytics. Remember, people look for different things at different times, on different days. Combine this knowledge with a banner ad scheduling tool (like Bannerflow’s) and this means you can show the right ad to the right people at the right time. Why not use variations of an ad, optimised for different times, using the data you’ve collected?

3. Build better banners

One of our favourite reasons to love data and analytics is that it leads to the production of better banners. Not just great looking banners but display ads that convert, again and again. But how do we measure what is good or bad about an ad? In the first instance we can establish this by looking at the CTR and analysing which ad is performing best. It is after all the best way of knowing whether an ad is performing or not!

But we could go further than analysing CTR. You could use hover maps, or compare groups who have been served ads, with those who haven’t, etc. Over time you could use this data, along with industry data, to build up a bank of knowledge. For example, which type of call-to-action works best, what colours tend to work best with which consumer. And if you look long term, it means you know when your copy or creative is getting stale – adjusting before there is a dive in performance. For producing better banners, advertising analytics has definitely got it going on.

4. Make better investments

Investing in analytics makes sense, not only does it save you money but it provides a great return on investment across the board. Using data and analytics means you can learn from mistakes, or know about them sooner, and correct them. This can even apply to already published ads – using a CMP to adjust the creative, copy, or data feed of an ad.

It means you can make improved campaign plans. Rather than spend weeks with something that doesn’t work, you’re able to change and adapt. This might take longer with smaller campaigns but you’ll find out quicker than without using data.

Also, if you buy either static ad space, or programmatically, you should do your best to optimize what you can. With a CMP like Bannerflow it’s possible to use A/B testing to improve copy and creative. But remember, reliable and precise analytics is the base requirement to be able to A/B test correctly.

Use your data and insights to make campaigns that follow moment marketing strategies. Or use programmatic creative to target ever better! It’s now possible to change your media plan, or try new strategies, thus making the most of a budget. Thanks to using data and applying analytics: save money, and produce even more effective campaigns.

5. Become smarter

The end result of these reasons to love data and analytics is that they will lead to you becoming smarter. Apply them, and it’s more than likely that you will make the correct decisions rather than decisions based on instinct. Trusting your gut feelings is always good but having the data to back up your choices is even better!

It means conflicts between designers, copywriters and media planners can be quickly resolved. While, long term you can build campaigns that are informed and challenge conventionality via data. You don’t need to stick to the proven ways. Data and analytics can be a safety net. If you take a risk, you can discover what works and what doesn’t.

Ad analytics with Bannerflow

One more thing (and yes, this is a plug) but one way of using data and analytics to produce better display advertising is by using Bannerflow. Bannerflow has analytics that focuses on improving the feedback between marketers and designers. Providing designers and marketers with insight into their creative productions.

Seeing which devices ads are being shown on, where in the world they are being shown, and through which domain is easy. While using data to help answer the pressing questions you have about your campaign’s performance is swiftly done.


Loving data and applying analytics is a key tool of the display advertiser. It’s set to grow in importance in coming years as ads become ever more dynamic and data points grow.

Already Google is planning the next step in using data and analytics. It’s counting on machine learning helping marketers to analyse and anticipate consumer needs in real-time. According to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce at Google, “the goal is to reach consumers with even more tailored ads”. Ads that appear right at the moment they’re looking to go somewhere, buy, or do something. Data and display ad analytics is a relationship that’s only going to get stronger.