Premium Placements: Understanding Success Metrics

By PPC Hero Ally | @Hanapin | guestblogger

Premium Placement buys present an opportunity to promote a brand on a volume that is hard to buy through internet marketing. Paid search ads, display banners and remarketing campaigns can only get you so many clicks and impressions. Larger digital marketing buys such as Premium Placements, present an opportunity for a huge amount of exposure, interaction and a rise in brand awareness and sales.

What is a Premium Placement?

A premium placement is a media buy that allows an advertiser to utilize rich media on a high traffic website. This type of placement allows an advertiser to not only drive traffic and sales but also to increase brand awareness and consideration. High volume sites such as MSN, Yahoo, Youtube and other news, sports and entertainment outlets allow advertisers to ‘takeover’ their homepage or sub-category pages. If you happened to visit recently you may have noticed that Ford has been utilizing this marketing tactic to promote the F-150.

What Type Of Creative Is Used?

Creative used for these types of buys is usually rich media and allows for the advertiser to display their ad across the page when visitor reaches the site. These advertisements are usually interactive and will let the user play a game or interact with the ad in some way. The goal of this type of display program is not just to have someone view the ad, but to have them interact with the ad and truly digest what the message is. Standard flash ads can be used, but interactive, rich media or video ads often perform better.

Who Should Be Making These Types Of Media Buys?

Premium placements are not for every client. Mom and pop shops or companies that are limited geo-graphically may not fit with this program. The cost can be in the tens of thousands of dollars for smaller, regional sites and be upwards of $500K-$1mil for high traffic sites.

Setting Expectations:

A large display buy such as a premium placement can walk between the line of a branding or direct response marketing effort. It is important to set clear goals of the program before you invest hundreds of thousands of dollars. All stakeholders within the organization should agree on the goals and what will be used to measure the success of the advertising effort.

Success metrics:

When running a premium placement, your other marketing channel should work as supporting efforts. Many of those exposed to the ad will end up visiting your site via paid search or be shown a retargeting display ad. You’ll want to make sure you have your creative set to use the same messaging as your premium placement.  When running a premium placement advertisement, some of the metrics you will want to pay attention are:

Brand Lift: Understanding the ‘brand lift’ or how well the ad resonated with those who viewed the ad is a great indicator of how successful the ad ways. There are a few ways to do this, but depending on your business model and purchase cycle the exact data you look at may vary.

For comparing how organic search performs, pull performance metrics such as visits, time on site, conversions and even impression level data from Google Webmaster tools. For paid search pull performance metrics such as clicks, impressions, CTR, conversions, CPA and any other that are relevant to your campaign. You’ll obviously want to pull these for the exact day you ran the advertisement but you will also want to pull these metrics for the same day of the previous 3-5 weeks and the same day of the previous few years (If available). As mentioned above, if your purchase cycle or business model takes more than 1 visit to make a purchase, consider pulling multiple days or even weekly data. When pulling this data you’ll want to separate branded and unbranded traffic. Also note that when comparing data like this things change, so any major shifts in strategy, rankings etc.. should be taken into account when analyzing the data.

When examining the data you’ll first want to look at overall traffic. Was there an increase on the day(s) the premium placements ran when compared to previous weeks and year over year data? What the breakdown was of branded vs. unbranded traffic? Taking a look at CTR of your branded and unbranded paid search campaign can also provide you with insights. Examining a rise in traffic to your Youtube brand channel or social media profiles can also be an indicator of the advertising effort working. You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on those types of properties if your advertisement was purchased on a social network or incorporated a social media strategy.

Sales: While a buy like this can contribute to branding the company, generating sales should also be a primary or secondary goal. Understanding how many leads or sales were generated by the media buy is important. You’ll want to make sure the buy still backs out into any CPA goals you have for your business or client. Following a similar strategy mentioned above, pulling performance metrics for previous days and weeks can help you determine if the ad placement had a positive effect.

If the program is successful you should receive a positive ROI. While just running a premium placement once is not going to build a huge brand for your business or client, utilizing premium placements can be one of the many tactics use within your overall marketing strategy to build a strong brand and drive sales. Make sure to take into account the overall lift this type of advertisement has on your campaign, some of the conversions that flow in from paid search, direct traffic and retargeting can definitely be tied back to the premium placement.


Justin Freid is the Media Director at TPG, an Omnicom Company, where he helps Fortune 500 clients generate leads and build their brands through digital marketing. To learn more about Justin you can visit or follow him on Twitter @Justin_Freid.