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Long-Tail Websites Deliver Higher Ad CTRs

March 11, 2011

Digital marketers may be missing opportunities by focusing ad campaign spending solely on premium short-tail websites: Average click-through rates (CTRs) for ads placed on long-tail websites are 24% higher than those placed on short-tail sites, according to a study from CONTEXTWEB.

Below, other findings from the CONTEXTWEB's Intelligence Report: Using Long-Tail Sites to Optimize Media Spend, March 2011, based on ad performance data from roughly 1,000 campaigns in the second half of 2010.

Long-Tail Performance by Vertical

Long-tail sites—the millions of smaller websites with niche audiences—offer significant ad performance advantages across a number of verticals. Among all 20 categories studied, long-tail ads registered increased CTRs over short-tail ads, led by alcohol beverages (50%), B2B (48%), and charities (48%). The lowest long-tail lift observed was for auto advertisers (12%).

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

Among 21 publisher categories, 16 categories registered increased CTRs on long-tail sites. Among the top three, education generated a 64% lift, followed by tech and computing (57%) and hobbies and games (49%).

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  • by Nick Stamoulis Fri Mar 11, 2011 via web

    It makes sense that long-tail sites have higher CTRs. Someone who uses long-tail keywords to find that site is a much more targeted user with specific goals. They are actively looking for that niche information.

  • by Eric Brown Fri Mar 11, 2011 via web

    I'm surprised that this is still an area for research or consideration. Clicks have been show NOT to be a proxy for success or engagement time and time again. Furthermore when you consider that less than one half of one percent of people click on ads and from that maybe 1% convert when sales are concerned this is hardly a metric to hang your hat on. Changing a click through rate from .5% to .625% is hardly going to move mountains.

    Some articles to check out:

  • by David Mace Sat Mar 12, 2011 via web

    Don't forget to set your Google adwords settings to track conversions and paste the html code for the tracker into your site's code. Clicks are fine, but conversions put money in the bank account, so to speak.

    The main point of the article should be noted: Specialization and differentiation are key to success for small businesses.

  • by Janet Askew Mon Mar 14, 2011 via web

    I agree with Eric Brown - CTR is NOT an indicator of success. Conversion rate is surely what we should be measuring?!

  • by Jimm Wed Mar 16, 2011 via web

    More surprised on the categories than the long tailed keywords CTRs.

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