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Beyond Click-Through Rates: Metrics That Matter

Click-through rate (CTR) has long dominated as a core marketing metrics because it is so easily tracked. With video, new metrics, like engagement rates and completion rates (VCR), are also taken into account.

However, these metrics don’t necessarily prove the campaign is working toward the marketing goal if it isn’t defined properly.

Anthony Coleman, senior director, search and social, Digital Remedy, believes that easily-accessible metrics are not as useful as some people think. CTR only tells you how someone interacts with an ad, and can reflect some level of awareness, but not what actions the person takes in response, Coleman said. Another drawback of CTR is that it is easily manipulated to inflate numbers for more impressive results.  

“When you’re trying to run an active campaign and get new users in the door…a metric that is so easily shifted is not a good metric,” Coleman said.

As for VCR, Coleman admits there is some value in that if the goal is measuring branding, rather than conversion. This is why it’s important to be clear about your goals and metrics.

“There is a difference between branding and performance marketing.,” Coleman said. 

Even in this case, more is not necessarily better in terms of packing everything into a single video.

“It would be too long, and you’re wasting production dollars and time,” Coleman said. Instead, Coleman recommends producing a series of 30 or 15-second videos. 

Related: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Video Marketing 

The metrics that matter 

Another performance metric Coleman considers overrated is “time on site.” By optimizing for time spent on the site, Coleman explained, you may be drawing people that are distracted, rather than the serious buyer. 

Shoppers will likely drift across several touch-points before arriving at point-of-sale. The customer journey across the digital channels to the point of purchase often spans multiple devices. 

“Cross-device and cross-channel performance, and number of pages, are a better indication that someone is finding your brand worth their time than the seconds tallied on a single visit,” Coleman said. 

The metric Coleman finds more useful for digital marketers is cost per action (CPA), because that insight into ROI on advertising spend conveys a much more accurate picture. 

“That’s a great goal,” Coleman said, “but rather unrealistic for the first 30 – 90 days, except for some very big brands, because they have so much data to leverage. Smaller companies don’t have that leverage, and would have to pay more for new purchases or new users until they have enough data to understand their channel dynamics.”

Ultimately, you want to have a clear picture of how a customer reacted to a particular display or video ad, and understand how the sum of all marketing efforts add up to the customer journey.

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