SAN FRANCISCO/RESTON: Ad "viewability" is a better measure of online effectiveness than clickthrough rates (CTRs), a new study has indicated.

The research, using data from 263m online impressions, and conducted by digital analysts comScore and Pretarget, showed that ultimate conversions are closely correlated with "non-click" metrics.

Ad views – defined for the purposes of the survey as 75% of the pixels of the ad being visible in the browser – achieved an overall correlation to conversions ratio of 0.35.

The correlation was still more pronounced for users who hovered over an ad with their cursor (0.49). But there were almost no conversions related to clicks (0.01).

"These findings suggest that advertisers and media planners ought to break their addiction to clicks and instead look to more meaningful metrics for evaluating campaign performance," comScore added in comments accompanying the new figures.

Kirby Winfield, SVP of Corporate Development at comScore, said: "This study shows why... interaction or hovering may be much more important in evaluating campaign performance than the click ever was.

"It's time to start measuring the impact of campaigns using metrics that really matter, not just the ones that are most easily measured."

The comScore report also cited a 2011 report from Casale Media, which indicated that ultimate conversion rates rise 6.7 times over when display ads appear "above the fold" on web pages – and are therefore immediately viewable to users.

"The [new] research findings indicate that the traditional way of buying mass impressions and hoping for conversions (aka "spray and pray") is not the most effective approach," comScore added.

Data sourced from Pretarget/comScore; additional content by Warc staff