In our digital-first media world, terms like “clicks” and “views” dominate media lingo. But just what do they mean? These two little words hold enormous importance to marketers and advertisers today, as they are two key measures in determining a digital media campaign’s success.
As defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “An ad view is a single ad that appears on a web page when the page arrives on the viewer’s display”. Increased ad views correlate to increased brand or campaign exposure. As views increase, so does the audience exposure to the ad message, which brands hope will drive greater audience action (i.e. buying the advertised product or donating to the advertised cause).
In a perfect world, advertisers would achieve a 100% view rate for all ads, meaning every ad the advertiser purchases is seen by an online user. But, there are some factors that keep that from happening. The IAB defines a “viewable ad” as having 50% of the pixels of an ad viewable by the user for at least one second or more (IAB, 2016). The example below illustrates the difference between what IAB would consider a view (300×250 unit in Figure 1) versus an ad that would not count as a view (300×250 unit in Figure 2). As a trend, advertisers are pushing for specific language to be included in ad buying contracts that guarantees they will only pay for inventory that is a complete ad view (Figure 1).
Depending on the main objective of an ad campaign, clicks can be a better indicator of success than a view. Clicks help show that an online user took action after viewing the ad. When a user clicks on an ad and is directed to the advertiser’s site, that counts as a click-through. Sometimes there are clicks that don’t result in a click-through—for example, the user exited the web page before it had a chance to load.
Clicks and Views will continue to remain important metrics for measuring advertising campaigns’ success as digital media growth trends upward. Advertisers will continue to push media platforms for stricter viewability standards and optimize their ad campaigns to achieve better click-through rates and audience engagement. And as new and experiential digital media grows, so will the metrics that we use to evaluate their success. Who knows what terms we’ll be using in ten years! Until then, happy viewing and clicking, everyone.