Let’s be clear here, the click-through rate is not a great primary campaign KPI for complex B2B.

This might be a contentious statement, but the reality is, it does not provide B2B advertisers with any true measurement of a campaign’s effectiveness.

The indicator that we all should focus on is incremental site engagement, as this provides a true predictor of growth of the pipeline in the future.

CTR limitations

That’s not to say that you should throw out CTR, we certainly use it for our clients, but you have to understand its limitations.  

What we try to make our clients appreciate, is that CTR is a good indicator for a number of secondary factors. For example, it is very useful for examining engagement between say different pieces of content. Or, it can be used to see how a message is being received by certain segment of the audience.

However, on the upside and unlike many other platform providers, our CTR figures are generated by our client’s target accounts. This is the key thing in B2B. To borrow a term from the discipline of research, we are more qualitative, rather than quantitative. High CTR figures provided by some platforms can be considered as flattery, because of course they include every click, not just those which are considered quality in nature.   

Filtered clicks

Our clicks are also filtered to remove a number of bots which are used by third parties, for example for when checking for an active landing page, or if to see if malware is present. The temptation is to leave them within the calculations, but again, it’s flattery and ultimately misleading as a guide to true engagement.

Although we don’t optimise our CTR, there are ways we do tweak it and improve its worth. One such tactic concerns account selection. For example, if we have a client which is targeting accounts which meet a certain strict criteria, and are showing decent onsite and offsite intent activity, we can boost the CTR data to reflect the accurate targeting.

Measuring Business Impact

Account-based (ABM) advertising programs offer a better way to reach and engage the “hard-to-reach” senior buyers at target accounts. It is clear to most mature marketers that traditional display program metrics of impressions, clicks, and leads/form-fills are just not good enough.

Want to look at better ways to confirm that ABM ads. make an impact? Look at the productivity of the sales teams when they can see which are the best accounts to prioritize, look at an improvement on the effectiveness of other channels such as the number of calls/demos/meetings/email open rates, and identify variation in pipeline value and velocity. There is a lot more than B2B companies should be tracking and that goes a lot closer to the actual revenue influenced by a program.

So yes, CTR still has a role to play, but only in a support capacity. It is not the main act, because all too often, rather than being the hero of the piece, it can often be the villain. The figures might make pretty reading on a graph, but they will flatter to deceive.

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