One might imagine that the simplest and best way to measure the success of a banner campaign is through click-through rates (CTRs). And one of the most common questions we are asked by marketers is what their campaign’s CTR is and how it can be improved.

This is entirely understandable. Logically, it seems that if more people click on a banner ad, there will be a corresponding increase in sales. CTRs are also a nice neat numbers that are easy to explain to the C-suite or other colleagues outside the marketing department.

However, there is a considerable body of evidence to suggest that not only does a CTR have very little to do with increased sales, according to research by Nielsen, “virtually no relationship exists between clicks and brand metrics or offline sales.

But banner ads are important in terms of both branding and driving an increase in sales. Research from the IAB found that consumers are more likely to purchase when exposed to a variety of online advertising (such as search, banner, and content marketing), as these tools have a branding effect that supports offline activity, and enhances brand awareness across all platforms. The Nielsen research mentioned above also notes that “evaluating a campaign solely on the number of clicks greatly underestimates the number of potential consumers influenced by the campaign.”

Furthermore, one of the brands studied by the IAB found 78% of users that made a purchase had been exposed to some form of online marketing activity. And close to half of the people who visit a site within a week of seeing a banner ad have not been exposed to any other online marketing activity. So although CTRs are not the best measure of your banner campaign, banner ads should be an important part of your online marketing mix.

Besides CTRs, here are five other metrics you may consider using to measure the effectiveness of your banner campaign.

Five metrics to measure the effectiveness of your banner campaign

  1. Visits to your website from the locations you target your ads from the beginning of the campaign to within a several weeks period, after the end of the campaign.
  2. Increase in other leads among the demographic targeted by your campaign – for example, if you launch a banner campaign aimed at expats and see an increase in phone inquiries or physical visits to your business from this target demographic.
  3. An increase in social media activity. This may mean more followers, more sharing of content from your site, or even more activity on your Facebook page or LinkedIn group.
  4. Post-click behavior. This measures engagement on your site and is important to see how many and which pages visitors to your site view. Is there a point where many of them leave your site? Does this have implications for your site design or sales?
  5. Gross rating point (GRP). This is a product developed by Nielsen that understands the online audience in a similar way to how media agencies understand TV audiences in terms of age, gender, and other demographic characteristics. It helps advertisers assess three main factors a) Who is the ad being seen by? b) Does the ad change the viewer’s perception of the brand? c) Does it lead to sales?.

This is not an exhaustive list. Before launching your campaign, we advise to set your goals clearly and investigate and identify the most suitable metrics with which to measure the success of these goals.

With the right metrics, you’ll be armed with more effective insights on how to improve and optimize your campaign, and will also have a better story to tell your colleagues. Good luck!