Don’t Get Too Click-Happy: They Ain’t Adding To The Bottom Line


mouseclick1.jpgBrand metrics and display ad clicks may not correspond after all, a new study finds. Blame it on the man: the 25-44 year-old-man making less than $40,000 that is. Because while so-called “heavy clickers” only represent 6% of the online population, they account for about 50% of all display ad clicks.

And heavy clickers tend to be the aforementioned underemployed males, media agency Starcom USA, behavioral targeting network Tacoda and digital consumer insight company comScore found in a research study on which they collaborated.

Heavy clickers behave differently than the typical web user, spending about quadruple the amount of time online and being much more likely to visit auction, gambling and career-services sites.

In other words, expending a lot of effort to garner more and more clicks may not lead to better campaign performance.

“There is more and more emphasis by advertisers for greater return-on-objectives in campaigns, particularly in the digital space where the accountability data is so readily available,” says Starcom USA Director of Connections Research and Analytics Grant Prentice. “Natural Born Clickers shows us that we can’t count on click-through rate as our primary success metric for display ads; Starcom is more reliant on shifts in brand attitude metrics and analytics tying on-line exposure to sales as the true measures of online advertising efficacy.”

“While the click can continue to be a relevant metric for direct response advertising campaigns, this study demonstrates that click performance is the wrong measure for the effectiveness of brand-building campaigns,” said Erin Hunter, executive vice president at comScore. “For many campaigns, the branding effect of the ads is what’s really important and generating clicks is more of an ancillary benefit. Ultimately, judging a campaign’s effectiveness by clicks can be detrimental because it overlooks the importance of branding while simultaneously drawing conclusions from a sub-set of people who may not be representative of the target audience.”


  1. Wouldn’t the effectiveness of clicks for branding be based on what the the click specifically does? For example, if the user is asked to click to continue experiencing the brand, then click is a good metric for how well the brand experience is doing. Using a click would then become similar to a rollover.

  2. Yak, you would assume that would be the case but there really isn’t a standardized way for tracking the value of one click vs. another at this point.

    There certainly are players that have solutions similar to what you describe but the average advertiser has yet to put them in place.


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