Optimize Website Traffic Using CTR
  • 6 February 2019
  • 14.126 Social Shares

Data is king

Data is king when it comes to optimizing your website traffic sources. Unfortunately these days the basic analytics are just not good enough. Campaigns are frequently optimized based on industry standard analytics such as page views, time on site, and bounce rate. These metrics correlate directly to a publisher’s ad impressions and it’s safe to say that most publishers want them improved.

Using basic metrics to optimize website traffic

Often improving the basic metrics is not going to assist you with increasing your traffic quality. One reason is that fraudulent traffic is often designed to enhance these basic metrics. Blocking sources of traffic that are performing with poor metrics could very well be degrading the traffic quality. A better way is to set a baseline for each metric and block sources that are below and above it by a good margin. This is a great strategy but more should be done. One of the best ways to quickly flag bad quality traffic is to track the banner CTR for each source.

A high CTR should be a big red flag

If you were buying traffic from a source that was producing a CTR on your banner ads of 50%, then you would likely want to block it right away. Tracking CTR is easier said than done. If banner ad networks provided a simple way to pass source identifiers then you could use their data. Unfortunately most ad networks do not offer this and simply provide you with overall impressions and clicks per account. In some cases an ad network will allow you to analyze per banner id. A new banner id could be created for each source however that would likely be an unsustainable practice. Some years ago I read an article that provided a solution to this problem.

Use the javascript window blur event

With JavaScript you can record when a mouse enters the boundaries of a container and send an event to your analytics when a blur occurs. You need to track if the mouse enters or exits the container boundaries using a simple Boolean value. A function must be attached to your blur event that triggers a click event based on the Boolean value. One known issue is if a user hovers their mouse over an ad, and then presses ALT+TAB, a blur event will be triggered and your analytics will think it’s a click. Thankfully that is not a common issue and the invaluable data that you can record heavily outweighs any issues that could arise.

The Code

var _isOverElement = false;
var _elementID = '';

$(document).ready(function() {
$('div[id^=div-gpt]').each(function() {
$(this).bind({
mouseover: function() {
_isOverElement = true;
_elementID = $(this).attr('id');
},
mouseout: function() {
_isOverElement = false;
_elementID = '';
}
});
});
});

$(window).blur(function() {
if (_isOverElement) {
ga('send', 'event', 'banner', 'click', _elementID, 1);
}
window.focus();
});

Conclusion

You must understand what your traffic is doing. With the right tools you gain a special ability to buy good quality traffic at inexpensive prices. While the basic metrics are useful, it is imperative to go beyond the basics. Implementing new and innovative measures will help you understand the good from the bad. Tracking CTR gives you great information that can be setup as a goal metric in your analytics platform. Knowing the sources of traffic with abnormally high CTR, as well as abnormally low CTR, will help you buy better website traffic in a sustainable and consistent way.

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