stock-footage-closeup-finger-touching-tablet-computer-touchscreenResearch shows that the greater determination of a viewer’s decision to convert, either to purchase or to request information, is the amount of hover time over an ad RATHER than a click.  Viewers who spend more time over the advertisement are significantly more likely to become customers than those who click indiscriminately.


The research by comScore and Pretarget indicates that the traditional way of buying mass impressions and hoping for conversions (aka “spray and pray”) is not the most effective approach. The results showed that ad hover/interaction (correlation = 0.49) and viewable impressions (correlation = 0.35) had highest correlation with conversion, while gross impressions (correlation = 0.17) was significantly lower.


Perhaps most interestingly, clicks (correlation = 0.01) had the lowest correlation with conversion, far under-performing all other metrics analyzed in the study. 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.


The Pretarget analysis supports several third party studies with consistent conclusions. MediaMind “2009 Benchmark Report” released in July 2010 found that “on average, increasing Dwell [hover] from 5% to 15%, increases conversion rate by 45%, from 0.4% to 0.6%.”  This also ties to my unscientific observations that ads “above the fold” which have higher viewership do better for advertisers.


And that is where we can benefit.  As publishers, we need to be working with those advertisers and networks that are continually seeking to better understand the market and create packages that work for advertisers and publishers.  IF our partners simply rely on click-throughs for performance and payment, we will not be properly serving our advertisers and unrewarding our own content generation efforts.


If your networks are CPA “first, foremost and only” you should be looking for a new partner.  As important as the movement to mobile, this research shows that those of who care about the Affiliate marketing business needs to be fighting for the value we deliver – eyes not clicks.

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