‘Natural Born Clickers’ – the end of CTR as the industry standard?

14 Jul

So finally there’s some research to support the notion that CTRs are not a good ‘sole’ indicator for an online campaign’s sucess…

Why? Because if recent-ish research (February to be precise) from StarCom media is anything to go by then just 6% of the online audience account for half of all clicks for online graphical advertising units. The report entitled “Natural Born Clickers”  argues that these heavy clickers distorts the reality of display advertising click-through metrics, and suggests that “the click is dead” as go-to measurement of effectiveness for brand-building display advertising campaigns.

So who are these heavy clickers? Well the report state that they tend to skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000. Ouch! Not the most affluent of target markets then hey…! Apparently, heavy clickers are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites – a markedly different surfing pattern than non-clickers…! So if you are in any of those industries keep counting those clicks, otherwise listen on…

The above research forms part of a wider call from industry leaders (such as EVP of Com Score) for a new set of metrics that can better demonstrate the effects of banner advertising for branding campaigns online (see also Impact Blog). As While CTRs may still offer a useful measure of sucess for some direct response campaigns, clearly they are the wrong measurement for brand-building advertising and consideration/preference campaigns online.

So the dialogue begins – some bloggers have argued that the online people clicking on ads are those that are small site owners looking to boost their CPCs and generate small bits of revenue, whilst some even claim that they may be proffesional ‘clickers’ employed by media owners to boost CTRs of underperforming campaigns. In my opinion this is a particuarily pessamistic and over the top view on things – just because some of the online audience may  have banner blindness and may never click on a banner ad, this shouldn’t mean that others who were presented with a highly targeted ad with a strong call to action wouldn’t click throgh.

And what are your thoughts? Is the overreliance on CTRs a thing of the past?


One Response to “‘Natural Born Clickers’ – the end of CTR as the industry standard?”

  1. Martin July 16, 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    agreed, clicks are a stupid and really basic way to measure online success. Not as if they measure traditional media with interaction (well at least very little), really people should start going back to basic and by that I of course mean statistical analysis. Gauging opinion movements is what branding is all about. If the campaign is about shifting the brand paradigm then the only way you know if you achieved this is to look at what changes occur in perception. Obviously, if the goals are different then success should be measured against these. Simple. One last thing online survey’s are a good way of capturing online success, seems like those pesky online people are going to multiple sites and use the internet more than we all first thought.

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