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What Does an Ad Click or Click Mean?

You can measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in various ways, ranging from overall app installs to customer engagement rates and more. However, you can also measure whether an advertisement is effective by looking at its total ad clicks.

So, what exactly does "ad click" mean in a marketing context? How can you use ad clicks to determine one ad's effectiveness from another? Let's answer these questions and more below.

What Is an “Ad Click”?

An ad click in marketing is the exact moment at which a user clicks on an ad and is forwarded to a landing page or experiences a pop-up window to take them to a new digital experience. 

More broadly, an ad click is a data point that can be used as a metric for estimating marketing effectiveness, ad success rate, conversion rate, and more.

Ad clicks are primarily seen as the first major and voluntary action that a user can take in the customer journey. That’s because an ad click takes a viewer or potential customer one step closer to making a purchase, subscribing, or doing another desirable action.

Think of ad clicks as the start of customer journeys. They're crucial to understanding and measuring the long-term health of your marketing campaigns.

Is a Click the Same as a Sale?

A click isn’t the same as a sale, at least in marketing parlance. Instead, a click is the first step that a prospective customer takes on the way to make a sale. 

If a customer clicks, they’re more likely to make a sale since they have already entered the sales funnel.

Because of that, a click is still a strong indicator of buyer intent or interest in a product or brand. A customer clicking a number of times or on multiple stages of the customer journey is an even stronger indicator.

Are Clicks the Same as Impressions? 

A click also isn’t the same as an impression. An impression is a view of an ad.

For example, when a customer clicks on a webpage that contains a banner advertisement, that advertisement gains one impression in real-time, which can be noted and analyzed by an advertiser or ad publisher.

Impressions are typically measured with the cost per mille (CPM) metric, which measures the cost or effectiveness of an ad based on how much it costs to generate 1000 impressions on a search engine results page (SERP) or other web pages.

Why Do Clicks Matter in Marketing?

Ad clicks matter heavily to marketing across several different areas. Let’s take a look at all the ways in which clicks matter one by one.

User Acquisition

Firstly, ad clicks are a major indicator of whether a user acquisition campaign is successful. 

Suppose a specific marketing activity, like a video advertisement or billboard ad, generates more clicks or user engagement data points on a social media website like Linkedin or Instagram. In that case, that means it generates more user interest in general and acquires more potential customers via those channels.

In this way, ad clicks are major indicators of the reach and success rate of a marketing campaign or a given type of advertisement. If a marking campaign has a high ad click rate, you should try to emulate the marketing campaign and replicate its success elsewhere.

Store/Site Optimization

Ad clicks are also a KPI for optimizing your app store or your store website. You can look at where users click on a website or on an app to figure out:

  • Where users spend most of their energy and attention
  • Where users naturally want to click to use the app or website
  • Where users get confused on an app or website
  • And so on

For example, if you have a lot of ad clicks for ads that are positioned at the top of the screen but not many banner ad spots, that might tell you that users spend most of their time clicking or interacting with the top of the screen instead of the sides. These, therefore, are the places to display advertising on your site.

Use this information to bolster or otherwise improve your app or store website and where you display ads on it.


Finally, ad clicks can be important for billing purposes. Advertisers often pay for traffic sources or avocations based on click rate and other metrics. In fact, the cost-per-click (CPC) and pay-per-click (PPC) payment model directly gets its pricing strategy from clicks. In this sense, the number of clicks an online advertising source or spot generates determines the price.

Therefore, ad clicks are important to digital advertising publishers because they determine how much they can charge for a given piece of ad inventory.

How Do You Calculate Ad Clicks in a Campaign?

Since ad clicks are so important, it helps to know how to estimate the number of clicks you will drive or collect in a given marketing campaign. To do that, you'll need two pieces of information: the estimated impressions delivered and the estimated CTR or click-through rate.

Once you have both of those data points, use the following formula to estimate your total ad clicks:

  • Clicks = Impressions x CTR% 

In other words, multiply the ad impressions you estimate you will receive or that you know a marketing ad received by the click-through rate. Now you know how many ad clicks a given advertisement generated over its lifespan.

Once you have this information, you can use it for the above purposes, such as improving your ad campaigns, placing more effective ads in high-traffic Google search spots, and beyond.

How Can You Improve Ad Click Rate?

If the ad click rate for a given marketing campaign or advertisement is less than stellar, there are several strategies you can undertake to improve the click rate. 

Here are some examples:

  • First, you can access your demand-side platform (DSP) and set your buying objectives to clicks or CTR. That means automated algorithms will purchase ad inventory based on click rate instead of other factors.
  • Don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA) in an ad. A CTA is important for driving consumer behavior and getting viewers to interact with an ad instead of just passively viewing it and absorbing it, such as clicking on it, making a purchase, etc.
  • Try to test out different ad formats and digital channels. Some types of ads might be better than text ads at generating clicks from your target audience than others, like video ads, static ads, billboard ads, and more. (Although, in the last case, billboard ads will generate clicks well after the fact when a user has the chance to visit a website.)

Contact AdQuick Today

Ad clicks help you measure how effective a given advertisement or marketing push is. The more ad clicks an advertisement generates, the more effective it is in general. If you're struggling to collect ad clicks from your target audience members, consider implementing some of the strategies above.

Or consider using AdQuick, which can help you maximize the effectiveness of your out-of-home marketing campaign in more ways than one. With AdQuick, you can bid, buy, and measure the effectiveness of billboard ads that drive traffic to your online or retail brand — try it today.


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