Clickbait is not a game

Feb 11, 2022

When was the last time you did any of the following?

  • Ordered a high-value product like a car via a click-through
  • Purchased a consumable product such as a candy bar or a soft drink from a click-through ad
  • Were happy when you accidentally clicked on an ad that took you out of your app

For the vast majority of people, the answer will be “exactly never”. 

One of the many problems of measuring success with a click-through is it distils the outcome of the complex brand-consumer relationship into a possibly meaningless signal: the presence or absence of a click.

While there is a place for direct response advertising and measurement, there is a much more innovative world of digital advertising that should be leveraging other signals and attribution considerations for measuring impact and effectiveness.

In 1994 the first internet banner ad was displayed, and just a year later Yahoo announced its own click-through banner ad inventory. Click-through ads made sense for a while, but the click-through as a primary measurement of engagement has outlived its usefulness. Twenty years later Yahoo’s own researchers proposed that dwell time is a better metric for user engagement and interest than click-through rates.

They definitely had something there. How many minutes does a consumer interact with your brand? What was the intensity of that interaction? And yet nearly a decade later in 2022, much of the digital advertising ecosystem still clings on to the click. 

Industry reliance on measuring clicks is particularly strong in mobile advertising. Mobile games is one of the largest mobile advertisers and the fact mobile game developers still seek or accept any sort of click is frankly staggering. 

This is a world that until recently consisted almost entirely of interruptive full-screen-takeover video ads or illegible banner ads forced into the top or bottom of the game screen. 

It is my belief that no one in the history of the world has ever clicked on an in-game banner ad on purpose. And no matter how many times I’m forced to rewatch a video for Evony, I will never have purposeful intent to click on the ad and download the game. Click-through ads in games have only one outcome: annoyance of the consumer due to breaking player immersion. 

As we enter a post-cookie and IDFA-less world, consumer engagement with their favourite brands requires more robust measurement. The opportunity to create more meaningful brand relationships through digital advertising has never been greater, but marketers must move on to measure ROI and value creation. 

The best solutions in this space will give proper consideration to all stakeholders. In-game advertising has the opportunity to lead the way here. Its very premise is about not interrupting gameplay and creating immersive brand experiences. However, old school media buying habits prevail and even as we snow crash into the metaverse, there are plenty of clicks taking you out of the experience, keeping the media buyer happy but ruining the so-called immersive experience. 

From day one AdInMo has advocated for appropriate measurement and we’re combating intrusive click-throughs with our click-free InGamePlay ad units that create better experiences and greater value for audiences, publishers, and advertisers alike. 

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