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View-Through Conversion: Measure Your Ad Impact

View-Through Conversion: Measure Your Ad Impact

by | Aug 21, 2023 | Blog

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and tools is essential to maintaining your competitive edge and driving meaningful results for your business. 

For example, did you know that solely relying on good old click-through conversions (ctc) as a means of tracking your ad campaign effectiveness is no longer good enough? No?

Well, this is just one example of how previously foolproof techniques are steadily getting less effective as metrics to ensure the success of your digital marketing strategy

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to this. So, if you’re looking to update your marketing arsenal so you can stay ahead of the curve, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we take a look at View-Through Conversions (VTC), an emerging digital marketing metric that helps you analyze your conversions beyond traditional click-through conversions. 

You see, VTC helps you track your user behavior after a user views your ad but does not click on it, and provides valuable insights into your user behaviors and ad impact. 

Indeed, incorporating VTC into your digital marketing strategy will give you insights into your campaigns, like never before, and help you optimize for better results. 

Join us as we dive into the world of View-Through Conversions as we explore:

  • What it means to your digital marketing strategy
  • How it will help you drive long-term conversion
  • How to use VTC and CTC for the ultimate strategy

In addition to all these, we’ll also put you on to one of the best resources to broaden your digital marketing knowledge, so you can always stay one step ahead of your competition. 

But first, an introduction to the star of the show—View-Through Conversion….

What Is View-Through Conversion?

View-Through Conversion is a metric used to indicate the effectiveness of your display and video advertising campaigns. It represents the number of users who saw your ad but did not click on it and later completed a desired action on your website or app. 

View-Through Conversion is valuable because it helps you understand the impact of your ads beyond immediate click-through conversions. It accounts for the influence of your ads on user behavior, even if they don’t immediately interact with your advertisement.

The success of a page should be measured by one criterion: Does the visitor do what you want them to do?

— Aaron Wall

How View-Through Conversion Differs From Click-Through Conversion

There are two primary types of conversions in digital advertising: click-through conversions and View-Through Conversions

Click-through conversions are the traditional metric used to measure the success of an ad campaign. They represent the number of users who clicked on an ad and then completed a desired action, perhaps making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

View-Through Conversions, on the other hand, measure the number of users who saw an ad but did not click on it, and later completed the desired action. 

This is typically attributed to the ad’s influence on user behavior, even without direct interaction

View-Through Conversions (VTC) and click-through conversions differ in three main key ways:

  • User interaction: Here the interaction is direct since the user actively engages with your ad by clicking on it.
    This is unlike with View-Through Conversions where the interaction is indirect since the user doesn’t actively engage with your ad, although the ad still influences their behavior.
  • Conversion attribution: A click-through conversion is attributed to a user clicking on an ad, which in turn leads them to complete the desired action. However, with VTC, conversions are attributed to the ad view within a predefined attribution window.
    With VTC, it’s hypothesized that the ad’s presence influenced the user’s decision to complete the desired action, even without direct interaction.
  • Influence on user behavior: Click-through conversion has a strong, direct influence on user behavior since the user actively interacts with your ad and immediately performs the desired action.
    However, with View-Through Conversions, the influence is more subtle. The ad influences the user’s decision-making process over time, even if they did not click on the ad.

For clarity, here’s a table comparing click-through and View-Through Conversions.

Aspect Click-Through Conversion View-Through Conversion
User Interaction User clicks on the ad User views the ad without clicking
Conversion Attribution Attributed to the click on the ad Attributed to the ad view within the attribution window
Brand Awareness Impact Strong direct influence (immediate action) Strong indirect influence (subtle, longer-term effect)
Measuring Difficulty Easier to track and attribute More challenging to track and attribute accurately

How View-Through Conversion Works

Typically, in digital advertising, click-through conversions are the go-to metric for showing the effectiveness of an ad campaign. But there’s just one problem, click-through conversions alone don’t provide a complete picture of how well an ad is performing. 

But this is where View-Through Conversions come into play, and outshine click-through conversions. So let’s take a closer look at the mechanics behind View-Through Conversions, how they work, and what makes them the better option for your conversion tracking.

Ad Impressions and Ad Viewability

At the heart of View-Through Conversions are ad impressions. An ad impression occurs when an advertisement is displayed to a user on a webpage, app, or other digital platforms. 

Ad viewability, on the other hand, measures whether the ad was visible on the user’s screen and for how long. 

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an ad is considered viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are visible on the screen for a minimum of one second for display ads and two seconds for video ads.

Understanding ad viewability is crucial for gauging the effectiveness of your ads. If users cannot see your ads, they are less likely to engage with them, leading to poor campaign performance. 

Attribution Window

The attribution window, also known as the conversion window, is a crucial aspect of View-Through Conversion tracking. It refers to the time frame during which conversion may be credited to an ad impression. 

For example, if the attribution window is set to 24 hours and a user sees your ad, then makes a purchase within that time frame, the conversion will be attributed to that ad impression.

Different platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or programmatic ad networks, allow advertisers to customize their attribution windows based on their specific business needs and campaign objectives. 

The ideal attribution window may vary depending on factors such as the sales cycle, user behavior, and the type of product or service being advertised. 

User Behavior and Post-view Conversions

View-Through Conversions rely on understanding your user behavior and the interactions that occur after a user has viewed an ad. 

In our textbook “A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing and Social Media,” we emphasize the importance of empathizing with your target audience’s online habits and leveraging user-centric marketing strategies. 

This is extensively covered in the second section of the book, “Research Fundamentals for Online Marketing” from Chapter 5 through Chapter 11, where we turn the spotlight on your customer and how you can win them over

By analyzing user behavior, you gain valuable insights into:

  • How users engage with your ads 
  • Actions they take after viewing your ads
  • Factors that influence their decision to convert

Post-view conversions refer to the actions your users take after viewing an ad without clicking on it. These conversions are harder to track and attribute since they may involve multiple touchpoints and indirect interactions with your brand. 

However, they are still valuable because they indicate that your ad made an impression on your users and influenced their decision-making process.

Expand Your Conversions Knowledge

View-Through Conversions provide a more comprehensive picture of your ad campaign’s effectiveness by considering both direct and indirect user interactions

VTC helps you stay on top of your ad impressions, ad viewability, attribution windows, and user behavior, so you can optimize your marketing efforts for better performance and higher return on investment. 

To maximize your View-Through Conversion metrics and the insights it offers on your users, check out OnDigitalMarketing’s textbook

Chapter 5: Getting to Know Your Customer, for example, is a great place to start if you wish to enhance your understanding of user habits and foster trust online, ultimately creating a more effective and user-centric digital marketing strategy. 

The Significance of View-Through Conversion in Digital Advertising

In the world of internet customer service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.

— Doug Warner

To stay ahead of their competition, more businesses are now leveraging the power of digital advertising to reach their target audience and drive conversions. 

Digital advertising involves a wide range of ad formats, including, display ads, video ads, social media ads, and more. However, measuring the effectiveness of these ads can be a challenge. 

For a while, click-through conversions had been the standard metric for measuring ad impact. But with digital advertising, click-through conversions don’t paint a clear enough picture of how well your campaigns are performing. 

To fill this gap, View-Through Conversion, with its multi-pronged, long-term series data has emerged as the better option for evaluating the performance of display and video ads. 

To paint a clear picture, let’s zoom in on its specific significance to your digital advertising efforts.

Assessing the Impact of Display and Video Advertising

Display and video advertising are essential components of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. They help build brand awareness, attract new customers, and drive engagement. 

However, to truly understand their impact, it’s necessary to measure the success beyond click-through conversions (CTC).

VTC offers a more complete picture of the overall performance of display and video advertising campaigns by accounting for users who don’t immediately click on an ad but still convert later. 

For example, a user might see a display ad for a product but not click on it. Later, they may remember the product and visit the advertiser’s website directly to make a purchase. 

In this case, the display ad still had a significant impact on the user’s decision to buy, even though they didn’t immediately click on your ad.

Gaining Insights on Ad Creatives, Placements, and Formats

VTC data also provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of different ad creatives, placements, and formats. 

By analyzing your VTC, you can determine which ad designs resonate with your target audience, which placements generate the most engagement, and which ad formats perform best in terms of conversions.

For example, you may find that your video ads have a higher VTC rate than your display ads, indicating that video content is more effective at driving conversions for your particular audience. 

Similarly, you might discover that ads placed on specific websites or within certain content categories generate more View-Through Conversions than others, allowing you to optimize your ad placements and formats for better results.

These insights will help you refine your ad creatives, placements, and formats so you can maximize the impact of your advertising campaigns and improve your ROI.

Understanding User Behavior and Interactions With Your Ads

Another critical aspect of VTC is its ability to provide insights into user behavior and interactions with ads. 

Through an analysis of your View-Through Conversion data, you’ll be able to identify the patterns in user behavior that influence their decision to convert. You can then use this information to create more targeted and effective ad campaigns. 

For example, your VTC data may reveal that users who engage with a specific type of ad content, say interactive video, are more likely to convert than those who view static display ads. 

This insight will inform future ad campaigns by encouraging you to invest more in interactive content as it may drive higher conversion rates.

Additionally, understanding user behavior will help you identify potential areas for improvement in your campaigns. For instance, if a higher percentage of your users view an ad but don’t convert, this may indicate a need to adjust your ad creative or messaging. 

Understanding your View-Through Conversions is essential to your marketing campaign optimization efforts. But to make the most of the insights you get from your VTC, you need in-depth knowledge of the metric and the impact it has on your marketing strategy.

For more on how you can build your View-Through Conversions, visit us on OnDigitalMaketing. Here you’ll find the tools, resources, and information you need to maximize your VTC and, as a result, your conversions. 

Key Takeaway: Implement proven techniques to improve user behavior and increase conversion rates, such as providing incentives, enhancing user experience, and leveraging remarketing tactics.

Implementing View-Through Conversion Tracking

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.

— Tom Fishburne

Once you have a solid understanding of your VTC, you can implement tracking to gather valuable data and optimize your campaigns, let’s look at what this might look like.

Overview of Conversion Tracking Tools

Conversion tracking is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns so you can make data-driven decisions. 

There are many conversion tracking tools you can take advantage of, each with its own set of features and benefits, so here are some popular options you might want to consider:

  • Google Ads: this offers comprehensive tracking and reporting, and integrates with other Google tools
  • Facebook Ads Manager: this tracks a range of actions, and offers customizable attribution windows for Facebook and Instagram ads
  • Google Analytics: which tracks various online actions, offers detailed reporting and integrates with Google Ads
  • Adobe Analytics: offers you real-time tracking and analysis for multiple channels, advanced segmentation, and data visualization tools
  • HubSpot: a suite of marketing automation tools, conversion tracking, lead capture forms, and management with detailed reporting, integrates with other HubSpot tools

Configuring View-Through Conversion Tracking in Google Ads

be found with Google Ads

Google Ads is the most popular choice for conversion tracking, including VTC tracking. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to configure your VTC tracking in Google Ads:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account: Log in to your Google Ads account and navigate to the “Tools & Settings” menu in the upper right corner.
  2. Access the conversion tracking settings: Click on “Conversions” under the “Measurement” section to access the conversion tracking settings.
  3. Create a new conversion action: Click the “+” button to create a new conversion action. Select the appropriate category for your conversion, such as “Purchase” or “Sign-up.”
  4. Configure the conversion action: In the “Conversion action settings” section, choose “View-Through Conversions” as the conversion source. This will enable View-Through Conversion tracking for your display and video ads.
  5. Set the attribution window: Specify the attribution window for View-Through Conversions, which is the time frame during which a conversion will be counted after a user has viewed your ad.
    The default window is 1 day, but you can adjust this based on your campaign goals and user behavior.
  6. Save your settings: Click “Create and continue” to save your settings and complete the setup process.

After successfully completing these setup processes, you’ll be able to track and analyze the performance of your display and video campaigns in terms of View-Through Conversions. 

But setting up your VTC tracking in Google Ads is just the first step. For more accurate insights, you need the right attribution model. So let’s consider what that might look like. 

Choosing an Appropriate Attribution Model

An attribution model determines how credit is assigned to different marketing channels for driving conversions. Popular attribution modeling techniques include:

  • Last-click attribution: this assigns all credit to the last touchpoint before a conversion
  • First-click attribution: this assigns all credit to the first touchpoint in the customer journey
  • Linear attribution: this assigns equal credit to all touchpoints in the customer journey
  • Time decay attribution: this assigns more credit to touchpoints closer to the time of conversion
  • Data-driven attribution: this uses machine learning to analyze conversion data and assign credit based on the impact of individual touchpoints

To find the right attribution mode for you, consider your business goals and the length of your sales cycle. For instance, if your sales cycle is long, you may want to use a data-driven attribution model to account for the impact of touchpoints across the entire customer journey. 

But if you have a short sales cycle, you may want to look into using a time decay attribution model to give more credit to touchpoints closer to the conversion.

Drowning in data? Get in touch with us at OnDigitalMarketing with your questions or comments, we’ll be happy to help. 

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay on top of the latest tips and trends to maximize your conversion tracking and improve your marketing strategy.

Analyzing and Optimizing View-Through Conversions

digital marketers analyzing results on computer

Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.

— W. Edwards Deming

Analyzing and optimizing your View-Through Conversions is crucial to building a successful digital marketing strategy as it helps provide valuable data about your ads’ impact and reach.

To interpret your VTC data, you’ll need to understand the total number of View-Through Conversions, which represents the users who converted after seeing your ad but not immediately clicking on it. 

This number is compared to the total click-through conversions, providing insight into the influence of your ad impressions. 

The VTC rate, which is the percentage of ad impressions leading to a conversion, is also essential. However, interpreting these numbers should be contextual, considering campaign goals and industry benchmarks.

To identify your high-performing ads and placements, examine the VTC rates of each ad creative and placement. Those with higher VTC rates are more effective at driving conversions. 

This comparison should extend to different ad placements, like websites, apps, or social media platforms.

Additionally, there are some other techniques you can employ to optimize your campaigns. These include strategies such as A/B testing, which is an effective method for optimizing your ad creatives and formats by testing multiple versions of your ad simultaneously to identify the most effective one.

The different variations can include design, copy, or format changes, with each version allocated an equal number of ad impressions.

You can also try remarketing campaigns targeting users who’ve previously interacted with your brand, increasing your likelihood of conversion. 

To optimize remarketing campaigns, analyze the VTC rates for different audience segments, identify the most responsive ones, and allocate higher advertising budgets accordingly. 

Use A/B testing to improve your remarketing ad creatives and formats. Consider adjusting the frequency and timing of your remarketing ads to optimize VTC rates. 

With both these strategies, remember, experimentation is key to finding a balance that drives conversions without overwhelming your audience.

Balancing Click-Through and View-Through Conversions

Balancing click-through conversions (CTC) and View-Through Conversions (VTC) is the secret to an effective digital marketing strategy. Instead of focusing exclusively on one, successful campaigns nurture both immediate actions and brand awareness.

To evaluate your campaign performance, you’ll need to examine key performance indicators (KPIs) like conversion rates, cost per acquisition (CPA), and return on investment (ROI). 

But equally important to these are qualitative factors like audience engagement, sentiment, and brand perception. These provide context for understanding campaign performance and guide future marketing initiatives.

Optimizing your marketing strategy for better ROI involves:

  • Tweaking ad creatives and placements to boost engagement
  • Reallocating budgets to high-performing channels
  • Refining your target audience

The aim is to strike a balance between CTC and VTC. While CTCs often indicate immediate sales, VTCs suggest long-term impacts on brand awareness and customer loyalty. 

If your ads have a high VTC rate but a low CTC rate, consider adjusting your ad creatives or incorporating more compelling calls to action.

A comprehensive approach to conversion tracking monitors both CTC and VTC across all channels and provides you with an accurate understanding of your campaigns’ impact. 

This will require setting up appropriate tracking mechanisms, like conversion pixels, Google Analytics goals, and custom event tracking. Also, use an attribution model that accurately reflects each marketing channel’s contribution to your conversions.

Expert Tip: Consider the customer journey and the role of various touchpoints in driving conversions. Align your CTC and VTC strategies with different stages of the customer journey to create a seamless and impactful user experience.

Enhance Your Marketing Strategy Through Innovative Conversions

smiley face

So there you have it—an in-depth look into the View-Through Conversion and the various ways it can impact your marketing and campaign optimization. The only thing that’s left is implementing VTC into your strategy

But to do that successfully, you’ll need to keep abreast of all the developments and techniques to maximize your View-Through Conversions, and this is where OnDigitalMarketing comes in. 

With our comprehensive range of courses and resources on all things digital marketing and analytics, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better source of marketing information. 

Our digital marketing content is compiled by leading practitioners in the field, including a cohort of experts from top companies like Google, MailChimp, and Meetup. 

It also includes insider tips from our founder, Jake Cook—a Montana State University Professor, with almost two decades of experience in marketing. 

Thanks to the impactful knowledge gained from our lessons, some of our course alumni have gone on to do incredible things in the digital marketing world. 

For example, Ben and Carlee now work embedded at Google as part of an agency relationship with R/GA in San Francisco and Tokyo. Abby works with the Fortune 50 on customer experience management software implementations… and the list goes on. 

So, if you’re ready to master digital marketing and join our community of expert online marketers, visit us on OnDigitalMarketing to get started. 

Alternatively, you can check out our book “A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing and Social Media” and start growing your practical knowledge on View-Through Conversions and other digital marketing concepts today.

Jake Cook


I'm a forever curious entrepreneur that works across ecommerce, analytics, and AI. I've been creating and teaching courses on ecommerce, design thinking, and data science at Montana State University and University of Montana since 2007. Most recently, I've been lecturing and assisting with research and case study development for Harvard Business School.


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