IAB warns against click-through rates for Valentine’s

IAB warns against click-through rates for Valentine’s


The Internet Advertising Bureau has released a Valentine’s Day-themed campaign pushing advertisers to move away from click-through rates and instead use different digital metrics.

Working with agency Feed, the industry body has released a short film called “Ditch the clickheads”.

In the 60-second spot, a hand swipes on a Tinder-esque app, scrolling past numerous “clickheads”, accompanied by captions that read “I’ll tell you what you want to hear” and “Appearance is everything to me”.

The hand moves onto other potential dates, such as “brand studies”, “econometrics”, “attribution” and “controlled experiments”, which are accompanied by more flattering descriptions.

The suggestions reflect alternative measurement metrics explained in IAB’s 2019 Measurement Toolkit.

The metrics included in the new ad and toolkit are:

  • Brand studies, which collect metrics through surveys conducted across the life of a campaign, measuring awareness, familiarity and favourability.

  • Econometrics/Marketing Mix Modelling: a set of statistical tools that predicts how all advertising activity translates into incremental sales, as in, sales directly attributed to marketing activity.

  • Attribution modelling: a technique that evaluates how different media interactions contribute to a sale or action.

  • Controlled experiments, which split a group of people into a test group and a control group to observe and react to a change in media over a defined period of time. The test group is exposed to the change, the control group is not.

The IAB’s initial “Don’t be a clickhead” campaign started in 2019 to encourage advertisers to move away from click-through rates as a form of digital ad measurement.

Click-through rates are the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.

Jon Mew, chief executive of IAB UK, said: “Four years on from our first National Anti-Click-Through Rate Day, our campaign against clicks is still needed.

“Our research shows that click-through rates continue to be advertisers and agencies’ most valued metric when it comes to direct response campaigns, giving a one-sided and fragmented snapshot of how a campaign is performing.”

This year, as part of its ongoing campaign, the IAB has also put together a map showing the different capabilities of online media owners.

This follows research by IAB UK and LongTerm Digital late last year, which found confusion among advertisers about the different capabilities offered by media owners.

The map shows the media owners that offer different verification metrics, which enable brands to accurately measure the number of viewers exposed to a campaign.

Spotify, Twitter, and Yahoo offer all four of the standard verification metrics included in the map. These include:

  • Viewability, which checks the number of impressions which have been viewable to the consumer

  • Brand safety and suitability assessment, which proves that advertisements from brands have not been shown on unsuitable pages.

  • Ad fraud assessment, which verifies that clicks have been from actual humans, not bots.

  • Audience verification, which gauges how much of the target audience has reached.

The map also checks whether media owners allow brands to use third-party providers to provide these verification metrics.

Tim Elkington, chief digital officer at IAB, said: “The reason it might be useful for [advertisers] is that if you’re a brand that is particularly concerned about brand safety or suitability, this table allows you to very quickly look down and see which of them could provide you with brand safety assessment. It’s a useful starting point.”



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