Beyond Click Through Rates: Making an Impression

Posted by Alisa Bartash on May 29, 2013 at 3:39 PM

When it comes to digital advertising, many advertisers in the Beyond the clickWashington DC area place a huge weight on the ad’s click-thru rate, or CTR.  And at the end of a digital campaign, the CTR is commonly used as the deciding factor as to whether or not the campaign was a success and whether or not to renew. This is because CTR is easy to calculate and explain, and it is an easy metric when your boss is asking for evidence that your marketing dollars were well spent.  Reality is, however, that even if an ad isn’t clicked, it still made an impression on your target audience.  The most effective digital display advertising campaigns focus on exposing your entire target audience to your brand and making them remember you, as opposed to aiming your display ads to the relatively few who will click.

According to a study conducted by ComScore, 16% of internet users account for 80% of all clicks.  So if you design your ads to generate a click, you are likely missing out on the 84% of internet users who aren’t “clickers.”  When your display ads are designed to promote your product and/or make a lasting impression, you will ultimately see a higher return on your investment... even though you may see a lower CTR on your overall campaign.  And that’s okay - the CTR can be used as a barometer of engagement, but it should not be used to determine the campaign’s success.

The same ComScore study found that there is a latency effect and branding effect with display advertising.  The study determined that users will eventually arrive at the advertiser’s website even without clicking a display ad.  Consider a time you saw a banner ad for something of interest to you, but instead of clicking on the ad you Googled the company or product.  Or maybe you typed the company’s URL directly into your web browser.  The ad you saw hours (or days, or even months!) earlier made an impression on you.  When you were ready to make a purchase, you easily found the company and became a customer. 

Think about the billboards you see on many major roadways.  Billboards make an impression on people as they drive by, but you obviously can’t click them.  Does that mean billboards don’t work?  Billboards have the same latency effect as display ads, which is why over 6.6 billion dollars was spent on outdoor advertising in 2012.

Remember, just because someone can click on your display ad doesn’t mean that CTR is a sensible metric.  And when someone does click on your ad, it doesn’t mean they will make a purchase.  Smart marketers create memorable and effective digital display campaigns that focus on converting all users—not just “clickers”—into customers.

If you are interested in digital marketing and customer engagement, download 22 Mobile Marketing Tips for Customer Engagement to learn about mobile marketing and how your business can utilize it to make an impression on your target audience. To continue the discussion about CTRs and effective digital display campaigns, contact us here


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Tags: Marketing Strategy, Digital Advertising



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