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BizReport : Advertising : June 27, 2012

Criteo: Ad clickers buy much more than non-clickers

Contrary to a 2008 comScore study that suggests display ad clickers aren't an attractive market for advertisers, new research finds that ad clickers buy much more than non-clickers and the more they click, the more they buy.

by Helen Leggatt

criteo logo.gifA 2008 comScore study that has become axiomatic within the world of online advertising claims that a very small percentage of people online (10%) are responsible for the majority of clicks (80%) on display ads.

comScore's study, "How Online Advertising Works: Whither the Click?", concluded that clickers, who were age 25 - 44 and earned less that $40,000 per year were "hardly an attractive market for most advertisers".

New research from display ad firm Criteo disputes these findings and suggests that those who click on ads are actually three times more likely to make a purchase. Furthermore, Criteo found that 80% of ad clicks were contributed by 50% of ad clickers.

The study, "Measuring the Value of Users Who Click on Online Display Ads" (.pdf), found that 43% of ad clickers made five or more purchases in the first quarter of 2012.

"It has always seemed strange that clickers should be so valuable in a search context, and yet irrelevant for banner advertising," said Pascal Gauthier, chief operating officer at Criteo. "It is therefore reassuring that this new research demonstrates that clickers are highly valuable in display advertising as well, at least for any advertiser looking ultimately to sell something."

So, why are Criteo's results so different from comScore's? According to Criteo, "Our hypothesis is that the comScore results are based on traditional display ads, which are not personalized and targeted to an individual browser's interests, and may not always be optimized to ensure that the ad is seen."

Criteo concludes the report by clarifying the context of comScore's original findings.

"Nothing here should be taken to cast doubt on comScore's original paper, which was based on the performance of low-CTR, branding-oriented advertising. However, the clear message is that their lessons cannot be applied to properly-executed performance display advertising. If your relevant and timely ad campaign shows a CTR of 0.8%, which means that almost 1 in 100 ad impressions is sufficiently engaging to interrupt what the user was doing on that page, it is a strong sign of genuine interest from real browsers who want to buy your products."

Tags: ad targeting, click rate, consumer insight, display advertising, online advertising, research, target audience

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  • LM

    The question is not if a clicker converts - but whether that user would have converted anyhow. Measuring incremental conversions is the key in my view. Re-targeting can often give a false positive in terms of post-click ROI if one does not also look through the lenses of a robust post-view A/B test analysis.



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