So, you’ve decided to try out online display ads, like the ones in the sidebar of your favorite blog or at the top of your go-to news website. You know you need to track performance, to see if it’s working and getting a good ROI. So you measure click-through rate, right? Wrong.

Think about how people shop and make purchasing decisions.

Think about how YOU shop and make purchasing decisions. You might hear a friend recommend a new restaurant. Then the next day, you see an online ad for the restaurant. You keep scrolling, intent on completing the task you came to the website for. But then later that afternoon, you remember the restaurant and head to Google to look it up. Then you get on the site and check out the menu, hours, and whatnot.

That’s what people do. They don’t have unlimited time to interrupt their work and click on every ad that interests them. But they remember the ad (if it’s a good one) and check out the website later.

So, what should you measure if you want to see if your online ad campaign is working? Website traffic. If you see a spike in traffic, you know your ad is working.

Is it foolproof? Not if you’re running multiple campaigns in different places and you want to track which locations are giving you the best results. But the reality is that people don’t always shop in streamlined, easy-to-track ways. If you want to be 100% sure which traffic results from which ad, just run one ad in one location for a set amount of time, then try another ad or another location and track them separately. It takes longer, but you’ll be able to get more precise information that way.


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