Is The Click-Through, Through? Study Finds Little Correlation With Creative Performance

A startling new analysis from third-party ad server Flashtalking confirms what many have long suspected: that click-throughs are a poor digital campaign performance metric.

The analysis, which is published in a Creative Analytics Report Flashtalking began circulated last week, uses a proprietary metric -- the Creative Performance Index (CPI) -- which measures the relative effectiveness of each campaign’s delivery of its campaign objectives.

The study analyzed more than 60 campaigns and divided them into quartiles, comparing the top and bottom performing 25%. It found that the 25% best-performing creative executions are about seven times more effective than the bottom 25%. That’s the baseline.

Flashtalking then compared the same campaigns' click-through rates (CTR) and found they were “negatively correlated” to actual creative performance.

“Creatives in the top quartile had an average click-through rate that was less than half of those in the bottom (.007% vs .017%),” the report found, adding, “As the chart [below] shows, click-through rates for the top quartile were almost always lower. In cases where they did have a higher CTR, the difference was usually quite small—supporting the thesis that CTR and creative performance are negatively correlated.”

Not surprisingly, Flashtalking’s recommendations focus on optimizing for creative performance vs. click-throughs.

5 comments about "Is The Click-Through, Through? Study Finds Little Correlation With Creative Performance".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 22, 2018 at 10 a.m.

    I love it when a company invents a proprietary metric (CPI) to help sell its superior solution (clickmaps) but I wonder how unbiased is the metric.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 22, 2018 at 10:44 a.m.

    Joe, do you know how they measured CPI?

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc. replied, October 22, 2018 at 10:51 a.m.

    @Douglas Ferguson: I don't think they invented CPI to sell a solution. I think it was a byproduct of their primary one, serving ads. The index is a composite of the performance of campaigns from advertisers that use Flashtalking to serve their ads.

    All metrics are biased. People should use the ones with the best biases.

    @Ed Papazian: The CPI is an index of each advertiser's performance KPI.

  4. Gian Fulgoni from 4490 Ventures, October 22, 2018 at 11:59 a.m.

    Joe, this is interesting research but to call it "startling" ignores a seminal study conducted almost a decade ago. In june 2009, comScore published a paper titled "Whither the Click?" in the Journal of Advertising Research which showed that clicks are not an accurate predictor of the effectiveness of online ads. Specifically, the comScore study showed that, even with no clicks or minimal clicks, online display ads could generate substantial lift in site visitation, trademark search queries, and lift in both online and offline sales.

  5. John Grono from GAP Research replied, October 22, 2018 at 5:51 p.m.

    Bravo Gian.   At least some of us listened.

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