Here’s a great post from our friends at Mediative discussing why measuring display ads by click metrics doesn’t make much sense.
On the other hand, display ads typically appear on webpages where the user is engaged in activities that may or may not be related to the content in the ad. This does not imply that the ad is a wasted impression and that the message was not seen; but the expectation that the ad will result in a click is significantly lower. In order to garner a click, the display ad must be compelling enough to attract the users’ intent and interrupt their current train of thought, which is an extremely difficult task. Taking this one step further, should an ad be effective enough to divert the users’ intention and garner a click, thelanding page must be equally as engaging in order to push the user through to conversion. If not, it will likely result in the user abandoning the conversion until a later time and resorting back to their previous intent.
They also discuss an important point on why optimizing towards click metrics can be optimizing away from your campaign objective and even inviting fraud.
Click fraud (“when a person, automated script or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link”) is rampant in the display advertising space. Although a great many steps forward have been made with regards to safe guarding advertisers with technologies (such as brand safety filters, viewability metrics, ad blocking, and third party ad verification), the fact remains that the majority of clicks are fraudulent. Knowing that the majority of clicks come from those outside of the target audience or are simply fraudulent, optimizing for post click conversions is actually counterproductive to a display ad campaign’s performance.
It’s a great read. Check it out here.