Editor’s note: Zack Clayton is chief executive officer of Three Ships Media, a provider of digital marketing solutions.

RALEIGH, N.C. - Yeah, yeah, you measure. It might be hurting your campaign performance.

Preliminary results from a display advertising campaign we’re currently running show that each $1.00 of adverting spend is resulting in $4.50 of incremental gross margin with a velocity of sale well under a month. The #s indicated a 99.9999% level of confidence that the observed sales beat the sales of our control group, at a statistically significantly level.

Oh, by the way, the campaign we’re running… it had no offer. This was purely a branding effort.

Guess what we did to accomplish this – a branding campaign – resulting in 350% ROI?

  • Didn’t worry about CPC [cost per click]
  • Didn’t obsess over CPA [cost per action].
  • Didn’t optimize to CPM [cost per thousand impressions]

What!? That’s right. We really focused on only three things:

  • Crisp creative. The creative was straightforward. (We wanted to increase awareness, not win a Golden Lion.) The creative was localized. (We wanted to drive traffic to the store.) The creative was compelling. (We have lots of data on what adverting elements attract attention, and we applied it.)
  • Smart advertising placement. We looked for value in the display advertising spend. Likely, we could have found cheaper sources of inventory, but we didn’t sacrifice quality impressions for quantity. We optimized for the realistic addressable market and purchased inventory that delivered quality units to them at a meaningful frequency.
  • We tracked sales. We de-emphasized the intermediate metrics because people don’t make decisions in a linear way. And they don’t use only one device to research a purchase.

So, while we focused on efficiency in the funnel – we measured success by the lift in total store sales.

(C) Three Ships Media