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A Click, a Click, My Kingdom for a Click

To click, or not to click — that is the question. Unfortunately for most online ads, and the advertisers behind them, the answer is not to click. Click-through rates for banner ads average around .10% and have generally declined over the years.

Does that mean online advertising is ineffective or doesn’t work? No, it just means that the click is not the best, or only, determination of online success.

Consider this scenario: a user goes to a website and sees an ad for a product but does not click directly on the ad. Instead they do a Google search on the product, click on one of the listings that come up and go to the advertiser’s site, or perhaps they open up a new browser window and directly type in the product advertiser’s URL. In either scenario, they end up at the advertiser’s site and ultimately purchase the product. If you are just tracking and measuring click performance, the banner ad that was responsible for starting that whole process would not get any credit for driving traffic to the site and delivering that sale.

As with many things online, there are different names to describe the same metric. View-through, post-impression, impression conversion, etc. all describe when an online user was exposed to an ad, did not click it, yet still went to the advertiser’s site. We’ll refer to this as an impression conversion.

With impression conversions, you can give the proper credit to the banner ad. In fact, based on what we have experienced, 80% or more of site visits, registrations, sales, etc. come from this indirect conversion. If you aren’t tracking impression conversions, you may end up optimizing out of some of your best-performing placements, or even worse, canceling an entire campaign because the results aren’t what you expected.

Tracking impression conversions can shine a light on the true value of your online ad campaign. So when the user is faced with the question “To click, or not to click?” it won’t matter. You will be prepared for either scenario.