Moving Beyond CTR

Computer mouse

Using search engines to find information is now second nature for most of us and serves an explicit and immediate need.  There is a clear reason for making the search and we all have a clear end result in mind.  When we find something that looks relevant, we click to get to that information.  In a word, we are looking for and actually expect to click on an ad or link  – and because of that, tracking search campaigns on a Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) makes perfect sense.

On the other hand, online display campaigns are a different animal.  When consumers are perusing other online content, most of us have already arrived at our destination and there is typically no intent to leave at the earliest opportunity.  In other words, with online display we don’t expect to click on an ad.  That makes online display tracking an entirely different ball game from search and means that CTR tracking is not the answer.

In fact, according to research from Quantcast, only 16% of people click on display ads in a given month and people are clicking less all the time.  On top of that, research has shown that clickers are generally not the same people that actually convert.  In fact, 95% of clickers don’t ever convert – while 90% of converters don’t ever click.

But don’t loose heart.  The low click-to-conversion ratio does not mean that display ads don’t work. It simply means that they should be seen as just one touch point (of potentially many) that help move consumers along the path to conversion.  With that in mind, incorporating metrics that track site visits and actions can provide much greater insight into the campaigns overall success rate than simply measuring CTR.

For more information download the Quantcast white paper here:

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