Goodbye CTR: That Metric Doesn't Cut It for Mobile Ad Measurement

Goodbye CTR That Metric Doesn't Cut It for Mobile Ad MeasurementOnce upon a time, the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) was the holy grail of engagement metrics.

Not now.

“Marketers only using clickthrough rates (CTRs) to measure mobile ad performance may need to take a step back and re-evaluate, based on a September 2014 report by xAd, Nielsen, and Placed,” explains a recent eMarketer report. “According to the research, while CTR has been the standard metric for online banner ad engagement, it doesn’t completely cut it when looking at mobile ads.”

There’s more than one reason why. Between the bevy of accidental clicks on small mobile screens and the inability to measure post-click engagement, there’s a lot that’s left out of the analytics.

“The research suggested secondary action rates (SARs)—those measuring actions such as calls, directions and more information—were better indicators of mobile ad awareness, engagement or purchase intent,” according to eMarketer. “Even more so, CTR tended to be completely unrelated, or even negatively correlated, to SAR metrics.”

Examining CTR-optimized campaigns—those where clicks were the highest, whether unintentional or intentional—CTRs improved across industries studied in the first quarter of 2014. Optimizing for CTR raised CTRs for U.S. retail mobile ads by 40 percent; restaurant and auto ads were up 33 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Also discovered was that SARs fell across the board.

“SAR-optimized mobile ad campaigns didn’t have nearly as much of an effect on CTRs. Here, the retail space saw a huge leap of 219 percent in SARs,” revealed eMarketer. SARs for restaurant mobile ads also jumped by triple digits, and those for auto campaigns nearly doubled. Meanwhile, decreases in CTRs averaged around 25 percent.”