Marketers love digital because it’s measurable, but there seems to be a lot of unwarranted hype about the importance of the click-through-rate (CTR). While the CTR is one form of measurement, research tells us focusing solely on the CTR is an expensive mistake. Here’s why:
According to an iMediaConnection.com article dated March 5, “comScore maintains that the primary value of online ads is the exposure itself and not necessarily the act of clicking.”
If the value is in the exposure and not the clicking, how does a marketer know if their efforts are worthwhile? The article, which goes into each of these in much more detail, lists 5 metrics you should know:
1. Reach. Just like with traditional media, you want to know how many unique visitors were exposed to the ad.
2. Engagement. As a means of measuring engagement, the study looked at the “dwell rate,” or amount of time the visitor’s cursor spent in the area of the screen near the ad. Increased dwell time correlates to increased search for the terms related to the advertiser, as well as a boost in site traffic.
3. Increased site visits. It should go without saying that a marketer should expect increased site traffic as a result of a digital campaign.
4. Search and display overlap. This simply means that the marketer should look at the key words bringing traffic to their site. If the digital or integrated campaign is working, there should also be an increase in site traffic arriving via search—using phrases from the ad copy.
5. Conversions. This is a tough one to track, but easier if the offer includes the exchange of information (the user’s name and email address, for example) in exchange for premium content.
Need more proof the click isn’t the all it’s hyped to be? The iMediaConnection article states, “In a study titled 'How Online Advertising Works: Whither The Click?' comScore has shown that two-thirds of internet users do not click on any display ads over the course of a month, and that only 16 percent of internet users account for 80 percent of all clicks.”
Don’t be fooled by fancy digital jargon. Instead, prepare prior to the campaign start. Have an expectation for reach. Know the current site traffic, and the most frequently searched terms (so you have a base of comparison after the campaign starts). And, within the business itself, be aware of current sales numbers so you can tell if there’s a spike in traffic.
Know what you are measuring and why. Looking only at the CTR could be an expensive mistake.
Kim Peek is the Blog Boss at The Center for Sales Strategy.