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Online advertising has long been measured by clicks. But as advertisers try to make a case for display and branded advertising online, it's become fashionable to discount the importance of the last click-through. Trouble is, it looks like most advertisers are still relying on click-throughs to measure their online campaigns.

According to new survey from Chief Marketer, the click is by far the most important measure of ad performance for online marketers. 60% of those surveyed reported that they rely on clicks to measure ad effectiveness. Less than 2/5  measured overall return on investment (ROI).

And despite the fact that display advertisers have been hard at work trying to discount the last-click through rate as the final say in online measurement, these answers are roughly the same as last year.

Last year, Chief Marketer concluded that the numbers meant marketers were only paying lip service to ROI metrics. Well, it's been a year and it doesn't look like much has changed.

EMarketer notes that both Collective Media and Datran Media reported similar numbers this year. Collective found that click-throughs were the most common measurement for 64% of respondants. For Datran 56.7% said click-throughs were most important. But 72% were actually relying on the click-through.

According to David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer:

“Marketers’ familiarity with clicks is only one factor that contributes to its continued usage as the top metric. Clicks are easy to count, too, and therefore an inexpensive metric to gather.

Of course, other metrics in these studies are stand-ins for return on investment. At the chart on the left, if some of the less popular responses were put together, the cumulative ROI numbers would be higher compared to click-through rates. 

But the fact remans that while many marketers seem to have realized that the click-through is not the best way to measure ad effectiveness online, the lack of a better alternative means they're still using it. And likely will for awhile.

Image: Watblog

Meghan Keane

Published 7 May, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (1)


Rick Watson

Good article.  There was an old saying about standards that read something like: "The great thing about standards is that there are so many of them to pick from."

I feel that way about online marketing revenue attribution.  Even just saying that you are attributing revenue to clicks, which click, and how is that spread throughout the buying cycle to establish which campaigns you should keep?  And do you have any idea what your customer lifetime value is?

Then you get down to it, and at the end of the day you have more data to analyze.  Does more data lead to better decisions?  Not bloody likely.

over 6 years ago

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