I recently did a blog post on the value of View through Conversions (VTC), in which I discussed the effectiveness of PSA tests in determining the true value of VTC attribution. For those new to PSA (test and control) testing, here’s how it works: the advertiser pays for display campaigns for selected non-profit organizations (we recommend the American Red Cross!) to determine the lift in performance between users who were exposed to your ads and those who were not. The advertiser gets data, the non-profit gets free advertising, and everyone wins! (Great holiday story, no?)

red cross

This is our favorite non-profit to recommend for PSAs.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re setting up your tests.

Try to isolate your audience from external marketing influences as much as possible: Since the purpose of a PSA test is, as mentioned, to determine the lift in performance between users who were exposed to your advertising (test) and those who were not (control), isolating your audience from other external influences is key.  Running TV, radio, or direct mail campaigns, etc. alongside with your PSA test will most likely dilute your control group because they are being exposed to your client’s advertisements through other verticals. This may inflate your control group’s performance and therefore skew your overall results.

Seasonality:  Every advertiser has their high and low seasons; try not to run your test during either one of these times. Test group performance will most likely be affected either way, and accurate results will be hard to achieve.

Testing takes time: Normally, I would recommend at least 2-3 months for this type of test. Most lookback windows (the time from last exposure that a user has to convert) are normally 30 days, and you’ll need at least this much time to clear your cookie pool from users who have been exposed to ads running before the start of the PSA test. Normal percentage split is 90/10 (test/control).

Once the results come back, you’ll have a data-driven story to tell regarding view-through conversions and their value within a holistic advertising campaign…and maybe you’ll have helped spark a little extra goodwill in the process!

1 Comment

  1. Linas July 22nd, 2015

    Hi Judy, any tips on how to actually isolate the audiences? Is it possible to run a such test in Google AdWords and ensure that PSA audience doesn’t see regular ads?

Leave a Comment

Judy Morimoto
Judy Morimoto, who joined 3Q Digital in May 2013, has worked in the digital marketing industry since 2005 and has extensive experience in managing top-tier Display Advertisers. Prior to joining 3Q Digital, she worked at Dotomi for 3 years developing and managing display campaigns and strategies for their Fortune 200 retailers. She graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Minor in Psychology, and is always up for a round of golf or a game of basketball.