Three reasons why clicks aren’t telling you enough

It’s tempting to base your marketing impressions on the number of clicks garnered by your ads. But are these numbers really what they appear to be at face value?

While still a popular metric in the advertising world, measuring the effectiveness of a campaign solely on click-through rates may leave marketers with little relevant data on which to gauge the full potential of the campaign. Online users who click on ads are not always the qualified leads advertisers are looking for, and while campaigns based on behavioral tracking are intended to provide better targeting, they can only help you target a small portion of your potential audience.

Here are a few of the reasons why it might pay to consider other methodologies.

Some of the best prospects aren’t apt to click
Many loyal consumers don’t click through on your ads but rather will tend to go directly to your website when they know they want to browse the selection or make purchases.

“Would you remove someone who buys regularly from you (or enough to be a profitable customer) based on the fact that they have not ‘opened an email’ in six months?” asks ClickZ author Simms Jenkins. “What if they have images turned off, only see your subject lines that trigger browsing through a different channel, or remember who you are and what you sell based on the emails they never read?”

An efficiently targeted ad campaign will reach current customers and it will spark new interest among untapped prospects. Focusing your campaigns only on customers who click is sure to ignore the largest part of your audience and limit the upside that comes with bringing in new customers.

All clicks aren’t necessarily a measure of real activity
A CTR essentially tells you that a user followed through on your call to action, but there is typically not enough of a story behind a CTR action to make any real judgments. Are those clicking through staying on your site and engaging with your content? Are online visitors actually interested in what they’re looking at, is your high CTR owed to a small amount of return users, and most importantly, can you tell who are these individuals are?

CSMG writer Bob Pearson suggests that activity from click-throughs are much more likely to occur after the first impressions. “People often take action over a period of a month or so after they learn about something via display advertising,” he writes. “We are not as Pavlovian as once thought. And when we do get around to visiting, we tend to spend 55 percent more time than average visitors to the site.”

Consider the value of measuring your success on the basis of long-term conversions rather than ephemeral hits generated by half-interested users.

Click are not necessarily a measure of real interest, either
Just because users stay to browse around doesn’t mean they’re impressed by what they’re looking at or have any intention of becoming customers. Many consumers may enjoy browsing through luxury car models online or high-end retailers selling clothing they’d love to own, but will likely never be able to afford. Unfortunately, marketers might be wasting a lot of ad spend by indiscriminately courting consumers with equal fervor as they do qualified prospects.

At the end of the day the key way to measure click through effectiveness is to gain an understanding of who is clicking through and where, as a marketer, you can find more people who look just like them.  Semcasting offers a patented IP targeting solution called IP Audience Zones that supplies advertisers with summary level user data that paints a reliable portrait of their values and spending habits at a precise level of granularity without challenging user privacy. Using 750+ data variables based off of demographic and psychographic information of publicly available data every online household is categorized at the sub zip-code level, IP Audience Zones can be used to build predictive models of prospects so that marketers can identify life stage, affluence, ethnicity, political leanings and more, at a level that is 77 times more precise that zip code-level targeting and with nearly 100 percent reach.

About The Author

Ray Kingman | CEO

Ray has been at Semcasting, Inc. since its inception, leading the company in the development and commercialization of its automated targeting and data offerings. As an experienced innovator in content management, analytics and data visualization fields, Ray directs the day-to-day operations of Semcasting, Inc.