Analysts who track the effectiveness of online advertising talk about the many ways that marketers can measure the return on their investment.  And when surveyed on the types of tools they use, many marketers indicate that conversion rates are the most accurate metric. Even on a global basis, marketers say they look at details such as registrations or the number of page reviews to determine the success of their online advertising efforts.  Why then are so many marketers still using click-throughs as a way to measure the ROI for online advertising?

According to the 2010 Chief Marketer’s Interactive Survey released last month, companies report measurement techniques as follows:

  • Click-throughs 60%
  • Lead generation 48.7%
  • Response rates 45.6%
  • Incremental sales 40%
  • Return on investment 38.4%
  • Brand awareness or reputation 31.5%
  • Requests for information 27.3%
  • Engagement with Web content 22.2%
  • Increased knowledge of customers 19.8%
  • Media impressions 16.6%
  • Redemption rates 14.7%
  • Do not measure 4%

The Chief Marketer survey is not the only study to point to the power of clicks. Collective, in a February 2010 report, notes that when marketers consider the effectiveness of ad network performance, 72% use clicks.  And while Datran Media’s study showed 90% of respondents calling conversions “the most important success metric”, 72% of these respondents measured clicks. This trend certainly supports comments made by David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer. “Clicks are easy to count, too, and therefore an inexpensive metric to gather.”

As more of the marketing budget shifts online, members of the C-suite will surely begin demanding accountability and ROI numbers for these expenditures and they’ll likely want a more accurate metric than clicks.

[Source: Is the Click Still King? Emarketer.com 7 May 2010. Web. 11 May 2010]