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Imagine: you’ve built a beautiful digital marketing campaign and it’s finally live. You get your reports back with a list of data points and while the numbers seem good, it’s pretty hard to understand them without any reference points. That’s the crutch: data doesn’t take on meaning when it’s just floating around in the ether; you need to build context around your data and anchor it to other relevant data points to better understand what your own numbers mean. 

Industry benchmarks -- reference points aggregated from ad campaigns across the industry -- give you these comparisons. And today, for the first time, we’re launching the DoubleClick Display Benchmarks Tool, an easy-to-use webpage that lets you pull benchmarks to help you make better decisions about your campaigns.  

Whether you're after comparisons by country, industry vertical, ad size or ad format, our tool offers up-to-date benchmarks across 10 key display metrics, such as interaction rate and time, expansion rate and video completions. Here’s a quick demo of how to pull the benchmarks. 

We've been playing around with the tool and identified some interesting trends around user engagement in our industry. Here's a bit of what we've seen:

Trend #1: User choice leads to more engagement: People want to choose how and when they consume content online. We’re starting to see new ad formats, such as the TrueView and Engagement formats, that let people choose whether to watch or skip an ad. Our benchmark data shows that people are increasingly choosing to interact with these ads. Video completion rates are the highest we’ve ever seen, with people completing 60% of the videos that they watch.  

Trend #2: Richer ads lead to more engagement: Longer interaction also stems from more beautiful and compelling ads, which advertisers are increasingly incorporating in their campaigns. Interactive video ads, such as this one from Cadillac, allow advertisers to layer information about their brands on top of their video commercials. Dual-channel ads, such as this Skyfall ad, let viewers turn their mobile phones and tablets into controllers that dictate what happens within the content on their desktop. These ads represent the new creative formats that are closing the gap between advertising and awesome content. And we’re seeing the results: since last summer, people are interacting with rich media ads ~50-60% more frequently and spending ~20% more time interacting. 

Trend #3: Optimize your campaigns for engagement: Advertisers used to rely solely on click-through rates and reach/frequency reports to measure their campaigns. Now, these new rich media formats provide a better set of metrics, which help advertisers understand what’s best for users and optimize their campaigns. For example, from the benchmarks tool we’ve learned that interaction rates correlate strongly with larger ad area - the bigger the ad, the more frequently people will interact with it. Similarly, we’ve learned that rich media expanding formats are better for getting people to interact frequently, while in-page formats are better for getting people to interact for longer amounts of time. These types of insights are instrumental in making improvements to an advertiser’s campaign.

These findings confirm what we've heard from our partners -- as ads become more engaging and relevant to users, their performance improves. If you’re still hungry for more data, don’t worry --  next Tuesday, we’ll be kicking off a “Data Insights Blog Series,” where we’ll deep-dive into one trend a week and explain how the insights apply to your campaigns. 

As you check out the tool for yourself, let us know if you find any nuggets you think we’ve missed. We just might feature your insight in one of our blog posts.

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing, DoubleClick