Clickthrough Is Losing Its Relevance

David L. Smith suggested yesterday in a post in the Metrics Insider that the clickthrough, as a measure of banner ad campaign performance, is losing its relevance. What matters is conversions, and optimizing ads for conversions and not clicks, is the only thing that makes sense. I agree on many levels, except that we shouldn’t blame a lack of metrics for what I think is a problem created by fundamentally bad ads.

Today many ads are optimized based on clickthrough rates, and it will remain so until ad networks/third party ad servers get access to additional conversion data. I fully support David’s pledge for developing (industry standard) ways to expose and share conversion data throughout the ad serving and optimization food chain.

However, until we have a solution in place, advertisers need to stop producing ‘engaging’ ads that are likely to generate unqualified clicks, as those ads don’t do anybody justice;
Advertisers get frustrated when ads that engage fail to generate conversions, publishers loose credibility as targeted destinations, but most importantly, customers get even more jaded as they learn that the few ads they do click on lead to irrelevant junk.

Maybe with more relevant ads, clickthroughs won’t be such an irrelevant measure of campaign performance?

- vidar

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