For years advertisers have been using click-through-rates (CTR) to measure online advertising success. We’ve all bought into it because, after all, the internet makes things more measurable, right? Well I’m here to tell you, the CTR is overrated.
Yes, it would be great if anyone who was interested just clicked on the display banner ad and then took the desired action on the next page to either purchase or become a lead. But that isn’t really how human behavior works, especially not in a world with Google. According to comScore’s “Natural Born Clickers” study, there has been a 50% decrease in the number of US internet users who click on display ads.
Consuming content online is really not that much different than consuming content in a printed publication. We don’t expect someone reading a magazine to see an ad for the first time and run right out to buy. We understand in the advertising world that it usually takes three times hearing or seeing a message for it resonate. So there is more value than we can measure in the impressions for banner ads. The real beauty of the internet is the ability to more specifically target a user or audience segment.
We also need to consider that not everyone clicks on banner ads. In fact, 84% of internet users don’t. And of the remaining 16%, only half are either moderate or heavy clickers.
So what do people do? Well they “Google It” of course. This is why it is important to have an integrated advertising campaign that includes more than just banner advertising. First, your paid search campaign should compliment your banner ad campaign and link to the campaign landing page if your home page isn’t going to pay off on the advertising message. Second, make sure any advertising phrases are included in the paid search. If you’re using a term like “most innovative car of the year,” that phrase should be included in your paid search. Third, make sure you own the most logical URL from the ads perspective (innovativecar.com). That last one is just in case someone doesn’t Google it but merely types in what web address they think it should be.
So although CTRs are being measured, they aren’t the only thing to consider when evaluating your online banner ad campaign. Increased web traffic through organic and paid search and the associated keywords will provide valuable insight as well.
Feel free to share your own thoughts on CTRs. I’d love to hear them!