Google hints at new ‘See. Think. Do.’ ad measurement framework

Google is planning to release a number of new measurement services to support advertisers and agencies this year based on the “See-Think-Do” business framework developed by one of its evangelists, according to Owen Charlebois, senior manager of cross media research for Google Inc. at an Advertising Week talk in Toronto.

The framework introduced by Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google, takes into account the consumer buying cycle from before they consider a businesses’ product through to becoming a regular customer. Charlebois said he couldn’t disclose any of the new products or give a timeline, but alluded to them in response to a question from the audience at the end of his talk outlining some of Google’s research into the hyper-connected “generation C” and showing examples of successful advertising done with the YouTube TrueView video ads.

TrueView video ads, which are most often seen by viewers at the beginning of a YouTube video they’ve chosen to watch, give users the opportunity to skip the ad after five seconds. Google only charges advertisers if the user chooses to watch past the ad instead of skipping it. The ads can also be overlaid with calls to action or complementary text. TrueView ads have become dominant on YouTube, Charlebois says, making up 70 per cent of in-stream ad views.

“That means 70 per cent of our ad views are skippable and we think that’s a good thing,” Charlebois says. “The more attentive, the more loyal, the more involved an audience is with a program, the more susceptible they are to advertising.”

New measurement tools based on the framework are “a work in process,” says Charlebois.

The “See” stage is all potential users of a company’s products, Kaushik explains in a blog post. For example, a clothing company would consider all people who wear clothes to be its potential audience. The “Think” stage is a subset of people in the “See” stage that have some intent to buying new clothes. The “Do” stage are a further subset that are currently looking to buy new clothes. The people in the last stage are the most desirable to target, because they’re the most likely to complete a transaction.

Google's framework for its new measurement services is said to be designed on this principle. (Image: Avinash Kaushik)
Google’s framework for its new measurement services is said to be designed on this principle. (Image: Avinash Kaushik)

Google considers that engagement is more important than exposure, Charlebois says. All new media have one thing in common – a strong “signal strength” that connect directly with people and have feedback mechanisms to tell if they are engaged. At Google, “we help brands measure better by providing an engagement metric that we believe serves as a proxy for purchase intent.”

The TrueView advertising option provides metrics such as whether users hovered on an overlay, clicked on it, chose to skip an ad, or chose not to skip an ad. Advertisers who consider views and click throughs alone aren’t getting the complete picture, he said. It is possible to look at a viewer’s cognitive and emotional feedback.

Google is currently working to developing industry standards around video playback and viewability, Charlebois says. He points out that not every video served is a video viewed – a video could be playing below the fold on a web page while the supposed viewer is looking at something else, for example. Google has even seen research suggesting half of videos served are not viewed.

“There are a lot of complexities in the serving of digital ads,” he says. “So it makes sense we only charge for what the consumer can see.”

Here’s one example of a successful TrueView ad Charlebois played for the audience:

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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