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URL Mapping: Bridging Brand & Performance Marketing Data

Updated: May 28

This digital marketing tool gives media planners a bird's eye view of web traffic for efficient media investments.

camera, map, and clipboard next to phone

We’ve warned against the dangers of short-termism and celebrated evolutions in shoppable CTV and retail media as full-funnel channels, but how do we measure the impact of our ad strategies on both brand and performance cohesively? 

“By using different methodologies, different buying tactics, different measurement solutions to really prove out that those things necessarily work together,” Exverus Managing Director Talia Arnold tells Digiday reporter Kimeko McCoy. 

The two met for a panel discussion at the 2024 Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit in Palm Springs, CA, which brought together programmatic advertising professionals from fellow media agencies, ad tech vendors, publishers, and journalists. 

One strategy that Exverus leverages is looking at user behavior online, otherwise known as URL mapping or URL analysis. A shopper sees a video ad, but there won’t be a [conversion] at that point. What the agency can do, however, is analyze online shopper behavior to see if there was follow up after a shopper saw an ad, whether through search, direct interaction with the website, etc., to get a better sense of measurement and attribution.

“This conversion lift, these sequential actions, are so much more effective, that it actually means we can spend less on the other ads that don’t have that user path,” Arnold said.

So, what is URL mapping?

In simplest terms, URL mapping means putting specific markers into webpage URLs that indicate where the user came from, whether it be from a search results page or social media or a display ad. This helps us advertisers know which media channels are driving the most traffic to product pages, and thus where to invest the most ad dollars. 

URL mapping is often discussed in the context of SEO, but as Talia mentioned above, it can also be employed by media agencies to monitor and measure the impact of paid media campaigns. 

Why is URL mapping useful to a media planning agency?

Media planning is all about deciding how to divvy up a brand’s advertising budget in the most precisely efficient way, earning the maximum return on ad spend (ROAS). URL mapping helps prevent wasting money on channels that don’t perform well, and it provides valuable information about a brand’s target audience and how they behave. 

What should brand marketers know?

When economic conditions are tight, it’s tempting for brand marketers to narrow their aperture and focus on immediate performance metrics — but in fact, a wider view that integrates brand and performance is necessary for sustained business growth. 

URL mapping is just one of many tools a good media agency should have on hand for viewing digital advertising campaigns holistically. Today’s customer journey is anything but linear, and it takes a bird’s eye view to understand all the touch points that bring customers into the mix. 


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