Breaking the Mold in Mobile & Display Advertising


Click Through Rates (CTR) have been the metric by which we measure mobile & display advertising success for years. But here at Hyport Digital, we’re shifting our focus away from CTR for our ad measurements. Why? CTR is less accurate than you may think.


Your Yoga Session

Let’s say you’re watching a step-by-step how-to yoga video on your phone and following along with the steps. Suddenly, your video is interrupted by an ad telling you to buy a yoga mat. Although the ad is certainly relevant to your lifestyle, are you going to abandon your yoga session and shop for that yoga mat? No!


Now let’s say you attempt to dismiss the ad without breaking your pose and your concentration, but you misclick the small little “x” button and accidentally hit the ad instead, taking you directly to the advertiser’s website. How do you feel about being on that website? Happy and ready to buy a yoga mat? No! You are (understandably) quite frustrated!


Here’s where CTR fails: when measuring CTR, that accidental clickthrough counts. Even though you didn’t buy anything on that website, didn’t even mean to be on that website, and have probably developed some negative feelings toward that company for interrupting your yoga session, CTR counts you as a valuable click.


Here at Hyport Digital, we always put our clients first, and we’re always looking for ways to improve digital marketing for small businesses. So when we realized the shortcomings of CTR (often by experiencing accidental click-throughs ourselves), we decided to do some investigating and find out how to improve our measurements of display advertising effectiveness.


Our Experiment

To attempt to improve display advertising and our measurement accuracy, we tried an experiment: we removed mobile in-app placement completely.



Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t serve ads on mobile devices. We still serve ads in mobile browsers on whatever device potential customers are using, we just don’t interrupt app use with display ads. And through this experiment, we discovered something big.


This change in advertising served the same impressions, but with a greater value. With the same budget, we delivered much better results by simply changing where we serve ads. And we know this because we have seen an increase in view-through rates (VTR).


Better Quality Clicks

What makes VTR a better measurement than CTR? Intentionality. VTR describes when a potential customer is served an ad and doesn’t click on that ad right away, but later, of their own accord, ends up on the advertiser’s website anyway. VTR is a powerful measurement because it looks at intentional clicks rather than possibly including those that were accidental. When someone ends up on your site by a view-through process, that may even mean they remembered your brand from your ad and searched it later so they could browse your website. A far cry from an accidental click!


When we ran our experiment and only served ads in browsers, the CTR dropped, but the VTR doubled. This change let us know that serving ads this way was much more effective, because VTR measures conversions with much better accuracy than CTR.


To return to our yoga example, now imagine that instead of having your session interrupted, you have a different experience. After your yoga session, you see an advertisement for a company that sells yoga mats while browsing the web. Because you’ve been needing a new yoga mat–and because you’re at ease and on your own time–you click on that ad and spend some time shopping for a new mat. Maybe you don’t end up buying one right then, but now you’ve seen the brand under positive circumstances and you’ve even seen their current stock, so you’re more likely to remember this brand when you do want to buy a yoga mat. This interaction is much better for the company than your accidental site visit would have been! Because VTR measures intentional visits to a company website, it measures the effectiveness of a display ad much more effectively than CTR ever could.


After our extremely successful experiment, Hyport Digital is implementing this groundbreaking change. By focusing our ads on VTR and only serving ads on mobile web browsers rather than in ads, we will offer our clients more valuable impressions, better website traffic and more intentional clicks. In other words, when people land on your website, they’ll be there intentionally.


If you’d like to learn more about our philosophy behind this change, watch this video from our Display Product Manager, Jess Nelson.


Conclusion: Onward & Upward

Because we’re always looking for better ways to put our clients first, we at Hyport Digital are excited to break the mold in the display advertising world. We’re especially excited to continue partnering with businesses nationwide with confidence in our ability to put them in front of the right people to grow their business with our digital marketing services. If you’d like to learn more about how we can improve your strategic marketing plan, contact Hyport Digital today.


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