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Client Spotlight: What Lies Beyond CTR? Cavai's Approach to Deeper Ad Engagement Metrics

Updated: Apr 30


For decades, Click-Through Rate (CTR) has been the gold standard for measuring the success of digital advertising campaigns. It's been the go-to metric for understanding the immediate effectiveness of online ads, starting from the early days of banner advertising. Yet, as digital marketing continues to grow more complex, the reliability of CTR as the sole indicator of success is questionable. .


Beyond the obvious issues with ad-fraud driven by ‘chasing the click’ - CTR as a KPI also has the disadvantage of only targeting a certain subset of the audience - the ones that are willing to interrupt their user experience. Rather than treating the ad-unit as a traffic unit, we believe we should see it as a destination in its own right, and measure attention and in-ad engagement as the central indicators of success. These also have greater correlation to actual return on investment (ROI) 


As a key client of The Scale Factory (TSF), Cavai exemplifies the industry's move towards a more user experience centric approach to evaluating digital advertising effectiveness, moving beyond traditional metrics like CTR to embrace a broader understanding of success.


What’s Beyond CTR?

At Cavai, we recommend moving beyond clicks to actions indicative of genuine user interest and engagement within the ad-unit itself. Our objectives focus on targeting users, not just generating clicks. This involves leveraging data to inform ad delivery based on user behavior and engagement rather than solely aiming for high CTRs with little to no results. Shifting focus from CTR to conversion has resulted in significant increases in conversion rates, emphasizing the importance of targeting genuine customer engagement.


Here are some other metrics that you may want to consider in addition to CTR:


Engagement Rate

How many people are interacting with your interactive banner and how long are they spending engaging with it? Cavai substantiates engagement with two metrics to note: in-ad actions, and time-in-view. Having a high engagement rate means that your ads are resonating with your target audience and that the time-in-view metric is way above the average static banner. 


Ads that are optimized towards high engagement rates can typically look like this:


Gamified Ads

Where the success of the ad is determined by the amount of actions and interactions that occur within the ad itself. Thus, the goal of the ad isn’t to prioritize getting someone to click out as fast as possible, but instead to engage them into staying within the ad as long as possible.


Video Ads with Conversational Overlay

Let’s say you have a big beautiful brand video you want to showcase. How do you know your video views are meaningful? Having a conversational overlay on your video ads helps to further substantiate the time-in-view metric. 


Imagine your audience is having a 15 second conversation with the brand, all while the video is running and fully viewable. This is meaningful viewership time spent within the ad, long enough to achieve brand salience. 


Conversational Insights

With conversational banners, you can gather valuable insights into your customers' needs, interests, and behaviors. This information can inform your marketing strategies and help you make data-driven decisions for future campaigns. At Cavai, our proprietary technology allows us to track how many people have started, continued, and reached the end of a conversation. Not only that, we also track the distribution of people selecting each individual choice. As a result, the insights gathered from simply looking at conversation metrics can provide a brand with a much stronger story than simply looking at CTR clicks. 

Here are just some of the ways Cavai has utilized conversational insights to maximize value: 


“Yes” and “No” Choices

Understanding why someone isn’t interested in your ad is just as important as learning why they are, if not more. Looking only at CTR doesn’t give you insights into why your audience isn’t engaged, and vice versa. Although giving your audience the choice to say “Sorry, but no” might seem daunting for brands, the most valuable insights can often be gleaned from people who are actively expressing their disinterest.



To illustrate, here’s an ad we did for HSBC’s “Smarter Business” Campaign. The ad begins with an open ended question, giving the audience the ability to choose “Yes” or “No”. Choosing “No” then opens the conversation to a list of options as to why they are disinterested, followed by a quick “Find out more” link. In doing so, this ad has already engaged an entirely separate audience pool beyond those who initially expressed interest, and interestingly, it’s often this “uninterested” pool that produces a higher CTR.


On top of this, brands find it extremely useful to see a percentage breakdown of the reasons their audience isn’t interested. Each option is trackable by attaching a tag, so brands have the ability to tailor-make retargeting ads to engage people where their needs are. In this case, an entirely different ad can be served to people who feel their business is smart enough, as opposed to people who are unsure where to start, for example. 


Repetitive Choices as a Tool for Brand Salience

Conversations don’t necessarily need to serve the sole purpose of surveying the audience. Oftentimes, when used creatively, the conversational element can be used as a tool to drive a key message home. Take for instance, our ad for McDonald’s Tap , Tap, Pay, Eat Campaign:




To promote McDonald’s mobile order campaign, the ad consists of a series of three consecutive video scenarios, each with the option of choosing the slogan “Tap, Tap, Pay, Eat”. The ad saw an impressive overall Conversation Continued rate of 70%, with an overwhelming majority of people choosing “Tap, Tap, Pay, Eat” again and again, despite the repetitive conversation. Not only does this indicate that a majority of the audience showed a keen interest in watching all three videos, the slogan of the campaign also proved to be a successful implementation of memorability and brand salience through repetition.


Conversion Rate

How many people who engage with your ad take the desired action, such as purchasing or signing up for a newsletter?  Adding trackers to different parts of the conversation or interaction can help you better understand where the conversions come from and what paths effectively guide users toward your desired outcome. See how BMW collected new subscribers for their newsletter.


It’s insights like these, and the know-how to use data for re-engaging an audience that offer a comprehensive view far beyond the basic evaluation of campaign success through CTR alone. Cavai's emphasis on interactive, personalized advertising experiences provide a forward-thinking approach to achieving these goals, ensuring that metrics like CTR are complemented by deeper insights into user behavior and engagement.


The New Age of Engagement

There is no doubt that measuring the value of advertising solely on the quantity and costs of clicks is insufficient - and in many instances vastly misleading.. While the industry hasn't yet agreed on what should come next, we believe the answer partly lies in looking closely at the quality of engagements - how users interact with ads and how these interactions help businesses achieve their desired results. To learn more, please feel free to reach out to us!


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