Long Live The Click

by Scott Portugal – GM, Publisher Platform
June 24th, 2015

All publishers started with a simple thought: “Someone out there is interested in learning about a topic – news, sports, health, etc. – and they will find value in our perspective.” It’s about passion, it’s about education, and it’s about attention. If a publisher can capture someone’s attention, and, when they have it, deliver something of value, that person will appreciate that and keep coming back. Publishers gauge the success of this fundamental endeavor by using site analytics.

What do advertisers want? Between the creation of awareness of their product or brand, and before they aim to sell it, they want an expression of intent, interest, or desire from a potential customer. They want confirmation that someone has absorbed their message. They want to know that their targeted audience – the people they’ve spent so much time and effort (and money) to get in front of – has paid attention to their advertising and are interested in learning more. Advertisers use campaign analytics to understand the breadth of and response to their message.

The truth is that both publisher and advertiser want the same thing: attention. And both publisher and advertiser have been using the same metric as a proxy for measuring whether or not they received that attention: the click.

From the first ad (HotWired.com, AT&T ad, sold by John Nardone, had a CTR of 30%), the click has become the de-facto measure of consumer interest. We’re seemingly moving further and further away from CTR as a desirable metric (Cost per view, per hour, per minute, etc.), and yet it’s still everywhere! Advertisers still list it as a campaign KPI. Publishers still use it for site analytics. So why is it such a dirty word?

It’s verboten because it’s hard to accomplish. Instead of doing what it should do, which is focus our technology on solving for what publishers and advertisers want, ad tech has invented new buzzworthy metrics simply because they cannot deliver CTR. It’s like botching dinner and instead selling dessert as the meal.

As a part of this industry, I’m here to tell digital marketers that it’s time to embrace your roots and start demanding performance on the metrics you really care about – clicks from real consumers, who are expressing a real intent. Cookie-targeting is a decent methodology for advertisers, but it’s a challenge for publishers to scale, and cookies don’t work in mobile where most of these clicks live.

Clicks lead to back-end metrics like brand awareness and brand lift. Clicks lead to sales, which is why CTR is a key metric for shopper marketing teams. Clicks lead to more articles read, keeping consumers on site longer, creating more data, and more high-value ad impressions. The click isn’t the start of the customer journey, and it’s not the end of the advertiser’s sales process. But it’s the middle of the funnel and an important metric that should be embraced.

One of the revolutionary things about Yieldbot is that we’ve essentially “cracked the code” on how to deliver CTR that drives backend metrics. With technology that blends site analytics and ad analytics in real-time, we have solved the equation for true click performance. In doing so, we have proven at scale that understanding consumer intentions in real-time and beyond the cookie yields valuable consumer actions with a brand and that those actions increase sales.

For everyone in the ecosystem – publishers, marketers, and technology vendors – it’s time to follow our lead and embrace our roots. The click is not dead. LONG LIVE THE CLICK.

Scott Portugal is General Manager of the Publisher Platform at Yieldbot and works alongside the world’s most premium media to help them realize true ad performance. Scott works closely with publisher operations to ensure seamless integrations with current partners and develop new relationships with consumer-trusted premium content providers.

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