Is CTR Dead?

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Earlier this week, Adotas published an article titled “RIP, CTR: Advertising Has Changed, So Should Our Metrics”. Our co-founder Eric Franchi was interviewed for the article, and here at Undertone there’s widespread agreement with his statement that click rates shouldn’t be the primary indicator of campaign success.

CTR is still considered a key performance indicator for optimizing digital campaigns, but it can be misleading, as clicks are not a good predictor of brand metrics. Oftentimes a high CTR does not correlate to an advertiser’s actual branding goals, be those brand awareness, favorability or intent. For example, a recent tourism campaign on Undertone aimed to drive consumer intent to travel to the advertised destination. The campaign generated a statistically significant 39% lift in travel intent with standard in-page ads—which, as Eric pointed out in the Adotas article, typically deliver less than one click in a thousand. Although these units were not driving direct response to the advertisement (CTR), they were improving brand metrics and lifting intent.

Here’s hoping that 2013 is the year in which the digital industry will stop focusing on CTR as an end goal and start focusing on viewability, engagement, interaction rate and other metrics more meaningfully tied to branding results.

Shawn is responsible for conceptualizing and implementing first party research to support Undertone’s display, high impact and video advertising products in response to market needs. Additionally, he oversees advertising effectiveness research for top clients as well as pre-planning consumer insights. Shawn holds a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Albany Medical College and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from The State University of New York at Albany.

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