Is search overrated?

New Microsoft tool measures each online element - not just the last click.

Microsoft is rolling out a new online measurement tool called Engagement Mapping, which it touts as going beyond the traditional ‘last ad clicked’ measurement model. The system is able to measure engagement levels with all online ads leading up to an eventual online purchase. So if a consumer spent a while eyeing your banner ad a week before doing a search for your product, you’ll be able to tell.

‘It’s a big innovation in measurement – we can tell you the weight of each element,’ says Yusuf Mehdi, president and chief advertising strategist at Redmond, WA.-based Microsoft. ‘Search gets a disproportionate amount of credit.’

Little Rock, Ariz.-based mobile company Alltel Wireless tested the beta version of Engagement Mapping earlier this year, and found that some of its display ads deserved 33% more conversion credit than previous measurement tools indicated. ‘It’s a powerful tool,’ says Mehdi, adding that it can help advertisers decide whether to sink more money in video ads, for example, versus banners or search.

Mehdi expects Engagement Mapping to transition out of its beta phase this fall.