Last week, Resonate attended Mastering Measurement, led by the IAB and the Laredo Group, to further analyze metrics and data surrounding digital advertising.

The best practices for measuring online marketing and advertising are topics of constant debate. The ubiquitous “click” – once a beacon of advertising engagement – has outlived its usefulness and now poses harm to multi-million dollar campaigns that are planned, allocated and optimized against a metric that measures little beyond an impulse.

Ever-advancing technology has fueled an expectation of immediacy among today’s consumers. But applying that “right now” mentality to advertising may not be the most optimal way of measuring success.  A “click” may provide insight into a consumer, but it is not a signal of success. Moreover, it tests only ad creativity, not brand intimacy or purchase intention.

Then why is the “click” still used if it’s proven unreliable, especially compared to the more recent implementation of pixels? The answer: clients fear change and are more comfortable with what they know. Even though supply side regards the “click” as the bane of its existence, the “click” persists as the common currency of ad performance. It bridges many different marketing methods among many different marketers, providing continuity and quick year-over-year performance comparisons.

But as consumers and their decision-making behaviors evolve, so too must advertising measurement techniques. Marketers must extract value from the data exhaust, or virtual paper trail, that online users leave behind while scouring the web. Also, they must constantly adapt advertising to pinpoint key moments of consumer influence.

Furthermore, ad measurement must encompass video watching, form completion, and ad hovers. Even a site’s search function has assumed a new purpose. It no longer identifies what exactly a user is looking for, but rather navigates a user towards a yet-to-be-decided destination.

Marketers must marry ad engagement with ad consumption to successfully measure influence potential. Whether it is assessing ad view-ability and impression through time spent on the ad or action taken with the ad, the fact of the matter is that, like Zero Moment of Truth states, advertising must address consumer behavior as a flight map not as a funnel.