Impressions, Clicks and Conversion Rates

Segmentation reporting by device can refine bidding strategy and increase conversion rates.

Understanding marketing’s contribution to revenue generation has two sides. Traditional brand value and awareness measurement require research, focus groups, and surveys to understand the customer’s emotional connection with the brand and their acceptance or rejection of the brand’s promise.

On the digital side of the revenue generation equation, the question of emotional connection to the brand is sidestepped. Here, actions are deemed more important than brand loyalty.

The question then becomes how does branding affect online behavior and lead generation?

Big brands in competitive market segments — think insurance, automobiles, financial services — invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually on brand image advertising. The hope is that plying consumers with the brand story will create trust.

When the consumer recognizes a need and begins to research for a solution, they usually begin with an online search. Keyword search terms associated with the brand become expensive and very important. Brand equity (recall, preference, emotional connection) is spent to steer prospects toward a particular brand name.

This is where the business of advertising becomes the granular view of the prospect’s online decision making, as viewed through the lens of impressions, clicks, and conversion rates.


Impressions are important because they reinforce brand association with brand messaging. The more the prospect is exposed to the message, the higher the brand recognition level and emotion connection with the brand. Impressions are the soulmates of clicks.


Clicks are actions that the prospects perform when their needs are escalated from research to purchase. Search and display pay-per-click advertising is where the search engines make their vast fortunes. Clicks are also a measurable action that can be assigned a cost-per-click value based on the ad spend. If you’ve done it right, higher impression rates lead to higher click through.  Impressions and clicks are symbiotic and are the parents of conversions.


Conversions can be lots of things. Primarily they pertain to actions that are deemed to have value. In the digital advertising world, conversions fall into four categories:  calls, sign-ups, downloads and purchases. Referred to as conversion tracking, these actions can be measured by the number of conversions and the percentage of conversion rate, both of which can be used to measure marketing’s contribution to revenue generation.

This type of granular reporting provides insight into the prospect’s online purchasing habits and preferred device – desktop, tablet, or smart phone with full browser. It also provides guidance for pay-per-click bid strategy, keyword search selection and topic placement for display channels.

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