The True Cost of a Click

The True Cost of a Click

What is the price of a click? Facebook says a click Globally is $0.35 on average, this however is not the true cost of a click as implied by the title. In “Clicks, Clicking Away to Obscurity” we concluded that there is a lack of direct correlation between clicks and the desired business action (conversion).


A marketer after exhausting thousands in ad dollars received tens of thousands of clicks to an ad only to realize that the sales needle did not move one bit, “Houston, we have a conversion problem”. All that money that you spend on running ads and not generating a single desired business outcome is the price you pay for planning a marketing campaign to be measured against clicks and not on conversion, but there’s more to the cost of overreliance on clicks as a campaign benchmark which drive businesses to make expensive marketing mistakes:

Focusing on clicks & not conversion reduces return on investment (ROI)

marketers who believe that clicks directly affect conversions increase investment on pay-per-click ad campaigns expecting a similar uplift in return. But because of the lack of direct correlation between the two, coupled with the unpredictable and negative implications of fraudulent clicks, increasing clicks only guarantees an increase in cost yet may have no effect on the desired business action, thus decreasing ROI.

Focusing on clicks & not conversion creates wrong channel biases and opportunity costs

marketers who focus too much on clicks, develop wrong biases on the effectiveness of certain channels. Search may yield 100% more clicks to a website compared to a social media post, and if conversion is not measured, regardless of its ineffectiveness for contributing to the desired business action, a marketer is most likely to increase spend on search, creating less chances for maximizing efficiency on other more effective channels.

Focusing on clicks & not conversion creates other audience insight biases that can prove dangerous to your brand

As the customer journey becomes more convoluted, conversion (& not clicks) are increasingly becoming important, ensuring that marketers are taking accountability over their audience’s changing behavior. Continuing with the above example, to the marketer, the search audience of mostly middle-income housewives will serve as the basis for the brand’s audience strategy, which then alienates the brand’s real audience who could turn out to be high-income millennials, poor decisions made on this false audience assumption will cost the brand much more than a failed marketing campaign.

A “2017 State of Inbound” report by HubSpot revealed that marketers in Europe and North America, ranked qualifying leads (prospecting) as their biggest marketing challenge, while Asian marketers are still finding it difficult to even generate leads. This further validates the region’s obsession over measuring clicks.

A shift in Asia’s marketing priorities is needed, focusing less on increasing ad investments while relying on deceptive metrics like clicks, and more on conversion measurement, ensuring that budgets and activities are efficiently geared towards conversion goals (such as lead generation). For the Asian marketer who is already spending the most on advertising, spending more ad dollars to buy more clicks is clearly not getting the job done. The frustration of the Asian marketer is made more apparent in the same state of inbound report, while 67% of its North American respondents felt their organization’s marketing strategies were effective, in Asia there is higher consensus that marketing strategies need to change.


Conversion measurement requires the right tools that allow audience interactions to be tracked all through out the customer journey, across whatever marketing touchpoint. It requires a thorough understanding of all above the line and below the line channels which generate millions of audience interaction data, these need to be gathered, and evaluated. Working backwards, measuring and optimizing conversions generates results, which affect ROI, and ultimately gives the business better justification to increase marketing spend. In the sequel to this article, “The Dynamic Duo: Conversion & Attribution” we will continue to explore the world of conversion optimization.

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