Jeremy Stanley, vice president of analytics at Collective, believes that marketers should stop using CTR to measure performance of their campaigns. "In fact, they should stop tracking CTR altogether," he stressed. "We believe that the CTR is not only a meaningless performance measure, but it can actually destroy value for brands if they optimize their campaigns to perform on CTR."
Collective examined the ad interactions of more than 100 million anonymous user profiles, and over 1 billion ad impressions served in the first months of 2011, and found no evidence of clicks in 99% of stable cookies. One-fifth of the ads that did recieve clicks seems to have done so in error. This effect was seen especially among online gamers, who clicked 43% more often than non-gamers, and on mobile devices where users clicked 123% more often, according to Collective. People who do intentionally click on an ad tend to be older, lower-income, and relatively unfamilar with technology.
Collective also analyzed over 100 Brand Lift studies conducted by Vizu, which showed no correlation between Brand Lift in brand metrics, such as awareness and purchase intent, and clickthroughs. In fact, optimizing campaigns based on clickthrough rates might have the opposite intended affect and reduce brand ROI.
Read more about the research on MediaPost: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=149267