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Tips for Measuring Display Ads


( -- The number of people online who click display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years, and only 8% of internet users account for 85% of all clicks, according to the most recent "Natural Born Clickers" study from ComScore and media agency Starcom. As the pool of people who click on banner ads rapidly decreases, it begs the question: Is the long-used click-through rate now officially useless?

What to Measure? Only16% of the Web Is Clicking Display Ads

Tips for living in a post-click world:

  1.'s important for marketers to ask their agencies how display ads fit into the larger marketing plan. "With the media mix, how do you set up overall metrics?" he said. "It's unrealistic to look at one element of one media for success. Since online media is so trackable, it's is held to a higher standard. The reality is no one looks at print advertising like that. You can't measure print that way or TV because they don't have built-in capacity. It's a little unfair that display becomes the whipping boy."

  2. In the digital space, look at how elements like display and search coalesce, Mr. Spanier said. How do people end up at a website to make a purchase? Look at sales of a product on-site with consumers' exposure to ads. "There is no way display advertising is wasting money," he said, "even if people don't click."

  3. Clicks are a direct-response measurement. For display campaigns, look at brand-awareness studies, purchase-intent lifts and engagement rates. "Users might work with an ad, but not click on it," said Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB Worldwide.

  4. Look at display view-through rates. "CTRs have a value, there is still a hand being raised, but view-through is more important," Mr. Gunning said. "How many people actually end up where you wanted them to? How much time are they spending?"

  5. Look at the creative. While consumer attitudes online have undoubtedly changed, think about how messaging does or doesn't demand clicks. If you want to measure success against click-throughs, include strong calls for action. Or, if you have a rich-media experience, other metrics such as engagement time are probably more telling. And that may be the case as more banners include innovations such as embedded video and rich media, said Atmosphere BBDO's Warren Griffiths, group account director for Visa, Emirates Airlines, Hertz and Starwood. "More banners have become the destination. I don't believe that would account for a 50% drop in clicks, but this may have had some impact."

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