Using a search engine or industry web site to find information, answer a question or reach a web site to buy something has become as second nature for most of us as using the remote control to surf TV channels. Search advertising borrows from the inherent utility of the search engine and industry site - buyers are presented with links that match their query and are designed to quickly direct them to specific products and services.
Online display advertising, however, is a different story. Prospects go to web sites for information and engagment not to click on ads that send them elsewhere. Recent research has only 16 percent of prospects clicking on display ads in a given month indicating that most visitors to a typical advertiser's site get there some way other than clicking an display ads.
So how valuable is click measurement as a means of assessing online display ad effectiveness?
Not very. In fact, click-based display campaigns can run completely counter to your interests as an advertiser. Optimizing your campaign for click, instead of optimizing for conversions, is pursuing the wrong objective. For display advertising, clicks aren't just suboptimal, they're anti-optimal. And they're likely to produce significantly poorer results.
Search behavior is linked to an explicit and often an immediate need. There is a clear reason for searching, with a clear result in mind. When prospects consume most types of online content, they have arrived at their destination. There's typically no intent to leave at the earlies opportunity.
Prospects don't expect to click on an ad. Relying on display clicks to drive conversions is often a dead end. Visitors most likely to click on display ads are often vastly different from your best prospects. If you're optimizing your campaign for clicks, there's a good chance you're actually anti-optimizing for sales. Instead, optimize toward your ultimate objective: the campaign conversion rate rather than toward the click-through rate. Focus on developing the ncecssary systems and skills to understand the true impact of your ad investments throughout your prospects' path to purchase.
Connect with people who really are your prospects. The low click-to-conversion correlation doesn't mean display ads are ineffective.
Next time: How to optimize for conversions.
Source: Konrad Felman, Quantcast