Is the Click-Through, Through? Study Finds Little Correlation with Creative Performance


A startling new analysis from third-party ad server Flashtalking confirms what many have long suspected: that click-throughs are a poor digital campaign performance metric.

The analysis, which is published in a Creative Analytics Report Flashtalking began circulated last week, uses a proprietary metric -- the Creative Performance Index (CPI) -- which measures the relative effectiveness of each campaign’s delivery of its campaign objectives.

The study analyzed more than 60 campaigns and divided them into quartiles, comparing the top and bottom performing 25%. It found that the 25% best-performing creative executions are about seven times more effective than the bottom 25%. That’s the baseline.


Flashtalking then compared the same campaigns' click-through rates (CTR) and found they were “negatively correlated” to actual creative performance.

“Creatives in the top quartile had an average click-through rate that was less than half of those in the bottom (.007% vs .017%),” the report found, adding, “As the chart [below] shows, click-through rates for the top quartile were almost always lower. In cases where they did have a higher CTR, the difference was usually quite small—supporting the thesis that CTR and creative performance are negatively correlated.”

Not surprisingly, Flashtalking’s recommendations focus on optimizing for creative performance vs. click-throughs.