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Designer Tip #6: Improving Click Quality by Optimizing Creative in Interactive Ads


There is a strong link between performance and creative. The ways in which the two interplay is constantly evolving, creative teams and analyst teams are brought closer and closer together for real-time optimization. Aarki Analytics Manager Casey McKnight and Software Engineer Igor Raush walk us through their latest project to link creative closer to performance.

When building an ad and analyzing performance, the following questions naturally arise:

  1. Is the intention of the ad clear? Are any creative elements within the ad misleading? Are users given the impression that interacting with a creative element on the ad does one thing, but actually does another?
  2. How large should the clickable areas of the ad be? Is it worth attracting accidental clicks in hope that some users will convert anyway, or will this just exasperate users?
  3. Is the calculated CTR representative of genuine interest in the product being advertised, or is it inflated due to fat-finger clicks?

The answers to these questions can vary per campaign and user. It can be difficult to analyze and optimize creative without the understanding of exactly how users interact with the ad unit. Simply optimizing for the number of click-throughs without considering click quality can have extremely negative consequences on overall performance. In pay-per-click campaigns, the the advertiser’s budget can drain quickly and result in very few conversions. Click quality can be measured with post-click user behavior – an app install, a website visit, or a subscription purchase – and data collected during the campaign can be used in a feedback loop to modify the creative in an effort to increase the number of high-quality clicks and discard accidental ones.

To visualize user engagement, we have begun using heat maps – plots of click frequency as a function of creative coordinates. They have proven to be a great tool for analyzing user behavior. Some errors within the creative, which are nearly impossible to detect during design or manual testing, instantly become apparent when looking at a heat map. With this information, we are able to gather insightful creative action items, and come one step closer to understanding which areas of the ad draw high-quality clicks and which draw low-quality or accidental clicks. Based on our analysis so far, we offer the following best practices to improve user experience within your ad and minimize the noise within your click statistics:

  1. Do not try to “trick” users into clicking on your ad. All conversions come from genuine, intentional clicks, usually ones which land directly on the CTA. Taking users away from the ad when they are not expecting it only lowers the quality of your ad experience.
  2. Introduce a good amount of spatial separation between clickable areas. Overlapping various actionable parts of the creative makes it susceptible to the fat-finger problem, and this will cause frustration and detract from the brand image.
  3. Do not use creative elements which look actionable but are not. While you may intend for some creative element to be a simple visual indicator, users will try to interact with it; this is likely to give them the perception of a broken ad.

The link between creative and analytics is getting stronger by the minute with technology enabling programmatic creative and studies like the one above. A mobile-first creative platform, Aarki Encore is making this link easier by the day for brands, agencies and premium publishers. To find out more on the link between creative and performance, to see Aarki Encore in use please contact us today.

Topics: Ad Creative