Dec 19, 2009

The death of the click?

Gian Fulgoni, ComScore Chairman #imediasummit
Image by Paull Young via Flickr

There is some discussion regarding the question if the click is a sufficient measure for effectiveness of a display ad. Gian Fulgoni, founder of Comscore says ‘no’. The number of users clicking on a display ad has dropped with 50% (again) and research has pointed out that the average CTR is down at 0,1% (which is not that bad!) and that in some cases 8% of the internet population is responsible for 85% of total amount of clicks (ignoring 92%). Fulgoni argues that the marketing departments should measure impact of campaign like they ought to do with traditional campaigns; cumulative impact of impressions during a certain (longer) period of time. Interesting point of view – not in a sense that it is new (on the contrary!), but in a time where ‘CPM is supposed to buried’ and ‘performance based marketing’ has been planted (on top of it).

I think that CTR and related measures (such as dwell rate and dwell time) are good measurements, also for effectiveness. The whole discussion ignores the relevance of the ad display content! If a display is relevant to the user, i.e. contextual, the user will click on it (is effective =purpose of the display ad). But reality shows that most display ads aren’t contextual and lack relevance. Although I agree that campaigns should be evaluated by the cumulative effect of several marketing instruments (online AND offline), but you can’t advice to throw CTR out of the window or that CTR isn’t important (and can be neglected). First comes relevance! But this causes problems for those online advertisers who are used to create standard IAB display advertising and throwing this in the basket of 2nd channel advertising networks, waiting for the publisher to pick this up. Its’ a common law of economics; abundance (of advertising content) leads to lower CTR overall. Throwing CTR out of the window is like changing national currency when a country suffers from a recession. Advertisers are still in the game of reach….but unfortunately for them, the audience has already left. But there’s enough excitement and opportunities in the game of relevance.

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