Over a four-month period between September and December 2019, the Microsoft Audience Network drove 11% incremental clicks for Honda and contributed to a massive 64% of their total impressions with Microsoft Advertising. The campaign achieved a click-through-rate (CTR) of 0.07% which while significantly lower than Honda’s standard search activity was 3 times higher than a comparable display campaign on the Google Display Network (GDN).
“It performed better than I’d expect,” commented Bilson, “we have our benchmark with Google and we know what to expect from the Google Display Network, so to see these numbers be so high was quite pleasant to see.”
Not only was the campaign a success in terms of increased visibility for the Honda brand, it also drove incremental leads and conversions. The benefit of the Microsoft Audience Network highly targeted matching algorithm meant that a brand awareness campaign was also delivering solid conversions. “I would never expect a display campaign to drive that many leads in the first place,” commented Bilson.
An important feature of this campaign was the collaboration and communication between Microsoft Advertising, Honda and Dentsu Aegis Network. Honda was looking for increased reach, which they got with a huge increase in ad impressions. However, that meant that overall click-through rate (CTR) for the campaign came down. Managing expectations between all three parties was essential to understanding the real benefits of the campaign.
“CTR can be quite subjective as a metric, and sometimes as search practitioners we fixate on it too much,” said Jeff. “But if you are paying attention to what is happening in correlation with your CTR, and your impressions are going up and your overall clicks are going up, then it’s a strong set of results for us.”
And because the Microsoft Audience Network charges on a pay-per-click model rather than cost-per impression, Honda was only paying for the additional clicks they received, while getting all the additional branding benefit of incremental impressions on the network for free.