Comscore Study with ValueClick Media Shows Ad Retargeting Generates Strongest Lift Compared to Other Targeting Strategies

Comprehensive Study is First to Compare View-Through Performance of Different Online Display Media Placement Strategies

RESTON, VA, September 22, 2010 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study conducted with ValueClick Media on the effectiveness of online display advertising according to its media placement strategy. The study, which is the first of its kind, analyzed 103 campaigns from 39 different advertisers covering 7 industries, examining the lift in brand website visitation and trademark search queries across six different media placement strategies, including:

  • Audience Targeting – Ads served based on online behavioral data, such as a past interest or interaction with a related product
  • Contextual Targeting – Ads served to related page-level content
  • Efficiency Pricing - Cost-per-click engagement with creative
  • Premium Pricing - High visibility placements on premium publishers
  • Retargeting - Served to users that have previously visited an advertiser’s site
  • Run-of-Network (RON) - Ads which appear anywhere in the network, often optimized by conversion

“This study illuminates the differences in the cost structure, efficiency, and ultimately ROI of various placement strategies,” said Anne Hunter, Comscore vice president of Advertising Effectiveness. “Each of the placement strategies has its own advantages and disadvantages that must be understood in the context of the campaign’s overarching objectives. Only when marketers are equipped with the accurate information on performance, can they truly optimize their advertising campaigns.”

Retargeting Generates Highest Lift in Search Queries

The study evaluated the various strategies in terms of the average lift in search activity that they generated for the advertised brand, while also considering their average reach and cost in comparison to the baseline Run-of-Network strategy. Among the six different placement strategies, Retargeting generated the highest lift in trademark search behavior at 1,046 percent. Despite this considerable lift, the impact of retargeting is limited by its low relative reach, although its cost is moderate in relation to the other strategies.

While Premium and Contextual placements are the most expensive strategies, the advantage of Premium is the higher average lift (300 percent), while Contextual has the ability to reach substantially larger audiences (Reach Index of 73, second only to RON). RON and Efficiency are both high-reach, low-cost strategies, but their lift performance lags that of the other strategies.

“One of the key findings of this research is just how effective Retargeting is at generating lift,” added Ms. Hunter. “However, if marketers want to continue to enjoy the benefits of this highly effective strategy, they must also deploy it responsibly and in a manner with which consumers are comfortable.”

Lift in Trademark Search Within 4 Weeks of Exposure
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: Comscore AdEffx™


Reach Index*

Cost Index**

























*Reach Index = Avg. Reach of Strategy/Avg. Reach of RON x 100
**Cost Index = Avg. Cost of Strategy/Avg. Cost of RON x 100

“Many of the findings in the study validate what clients have reported anecdotally,” said Bill Todd, general manager, ValueClick Media. “But having empirical evidence about the efficacy of various placement strategies on a view-through basis is unprecedented and we hope will lead to more sophisticated conversations about the use of display advertising to achieve various online advertising objectives.”

Multiple Placement Strategies Produce Synergy

Another key finding from the research is the evidence of synergy among campaigns that utilized multiple placement strategies. Specifically, several campaigns in which three or more placement strategies were deployed showed a tendency to disproportionately outperform the norm on at least one dimension of performance. For example, a major pharmaceutical campaign run by Good Apple Digital, which deployed five out of the six placement methods studied, resulted in visitors who had seen the campaign spending seven times the average number of minutes on the client’s site compared to the norm. Other campaigns showed similarly high lifts vs. the norm.

“This validates our use of multiple display advertising strategies, but more importantly it sets forth a benchmark for future normative studies to quantify what display strategies are best to deploy for different categories and marketing objectives,” said Al Muzaurieta, co-founder and president of Good Apple Digital.

Comscore and ValueClick to Co-Present Findings at IAB MIXX

Comscore and ValueClick Media will co-present the findings at the IAB MIXX conference during Advertising Week in New York City. The session, titled “When Money Moves to Digital, Where Should It Go? Identifying the Right Media Placement Strategies for Your Display Campaigns” will be held on Tuesday, September 28 at 12:25 p.m. in room 510 on the fifth floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square.

To download a copy of the white paper, please visit the following link:

About Comscore
Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

About ValueClick Media
Twelve years of performance advertising expertise, extensive reach, proprietary behavioral data and proven optimization technology make ValueClick Media the largest and most robust audience targeting platform of its kind. For more information, visit

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications