The debate over the value of clickthrough rates (CTRs) is heating up. Always looking for a new and better metric has been the firm comScore and now there is a new report to back up its argument. The new study contends that there is almost zero correlation between clicks and conversions. Instead of looking to CTR, the social media agency ought to instead look at hover time and ad viewability.
This new study only measures the metrics for display advertising. Even though there are other types of ads, display ads dominate the market so the flaw may not be significant to the study’s findings. The scope of the study is quite large: 263 million impressions over nine months and 18 advertisers.
An average of 31% of the impressions were never seen partly because they were below the fold. On some websites that number was as high as 91%. The study then measured four metrics on conversion rates. Clicks showed a correlation of .01, which is not at all close to significance. Gross impressions fared better but a still anemic .17. Viewable impressions was .35 and the top performer was ad hover/interaction at .49.
Of course, there has been mounting evidence for years, 2008 was the first serious criticism of CTR, and yet the click remains the measure by which prices and charges are given to advertisers. The social media agency may need to wait until TV-like metrics are finally deployed for internet viewers.