What’s in a click?

| General

I just finished reading comScore’s latest paper ‘How Online Advertising Works: Whither the Click?’ which questions the relevancy of using clicks to measure the impact of display ads. This paper could not have come at a better time as we’ve been seeing an increase in client requests to optimize toward clicks. It makes sense that marketers are looking to make their media buys more efficient and accountable in this economy, however more often than not optimizing toward a click is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Just because we can measure and optimize toward any given metric doesn’t mean that we should.

Consider the following evidence from this paper:

• Starcom research suggests there is no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics. When campaigns have a branding objective, optimizing for high click rates does not necessarily improve campaign performance.

• Two-thirds of Internet users do not click on any display ads over the course of a month and only 16% of Internet users account for 80% of all clicks.

• Click demographics are skewed toward younger users aged 25 to 44 earning less than $40k per year.

This report also shows evidence of latency effects of display ads post-exposure to the ads. Despite a lack of clicks, display ads have a positive impact on:

• Visitation to the advertiser’s web site (lift of at least 46% over a four week period)

• Likelihood of consumers conducting a search query using the advertiser’s branded terms (lift of at least 38% over a four week period)

• Consumers’ likelihood of buying the advertised brand online (average of 27% lift in online sales)

• Consumers’ likelihood of buying at the advertiser’s retail store (average lift of 17%)

At Undertone, we believe that reaching the right user in the right environment is much more impactful than reaching a user that will simply click on an ad.


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