Click Through Rate (CTR) Retires as the Top Campaign Success Metric

October 27, 2014 | By: Raj Dubey | 2 min read

double-click-161563_640If you are marketing professional, chances are the infamous click through metric is one that you are familiar with and have been fixated on to measure your mobile campaign success. According to a recent xAd/Neilson study, it turns out a click through rate may not be the best or only metric to make that call for your app or website.

The purpose of this study was to “measure campaign success, including click through rate (CTR), secondary actions such as calls and navigation, and lift in store visitation post ad exposure,” according to xAD.

CTR has always been the most popular way to gauge campaign success due to the fact that, on a desktop or laptop computer, a banner click is generally an intentional action. However, with the introduction of mobile and tablet devices, the growth of accidental clicking exploded.

Neilson analyzed 200 impressions from 80 different campaigns run from 12 major brands in different industries. All of these campaigns were run in 2014. The findings concluded that CTR had very little, if any, correlation to Store Visitation Lift (SVL), i.e the amount of consumers making it into the store and completing secondary action rates (SAR) such as clicking for more info, calling  the stores, and searching location directions. In fact, the study found that the ads with higher CTR sometimes experienced lower SAR.

According to xAD, some of the study’s major findings were:

  • CTR alone proves to be a poor indicator of performance as it is often unrelated to other metrics that show deeper levels of engagement or purchase intent
  • Goals should be clearly defined at the start of a campaign so that the campaign can be set up and optimized for maximum performance
  • Store Visitation Lift (SVL) was the best purchase indicator for all verticals - most purchases are still happening in stores so a key goal of any mobile campaign should be to drive in-store foot traffic and sales

Instead of optimizing your campaign regarding only CTR, try optimizing it for SAR or SVL as well.

SAR Optimization
SAR is about getting consumers to access store information online such as navigation apps, phone calls, and company details. By doing this, the consumer may have to work a little harder; however, it ensures that they actually have an interest in the product. Brands that have excelled in SAR have seen an increase in over 200% according to the study.

SVL Optimization
The end game is getting consumers in the store.  Which makes SVL the absolute best measurement of purchase intent. Offering incentives like discounts and specials can drive traffic into your location. In order to effectively analyze this metric, it must be assessed in comparison to initial visitation patterns. If a brand has a higher natural visitation pattern before the campaign, a smaller change will be demonstrated after the campaign.

The Takeaway

The key is finding the right balance, there is no single metric tells the whole story. By optimizing your next campaign for all of these metrics you will get a far more accurate measurement of campaign success.

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