Benchmark Ad CTRs Unveiled

By Bob West

Dive deep into the metrics from more than 3,000 ads run across more than 30 different digital media in 2013 and what do you get? Updated benchmark performance (and more than a couple of valuable insights) for every digital ad unit offered by Meister Media.

A summary of the metrics for each ad unit is below, but, first, some observations:

1. Pay attention to all of the noise you’re hearing about content marketing. Our readers clearly engage with content-oriented ads more than they do any other digital ad type. For example, an average logo/text ad in one of our enewsletters generated a 1.32% click-through rate (CTR) in 2013, which is roughly double the click-through rate of a typical leaderboard or medium rectangle ad. Our readers are interested in seeing your products in the graphic format of a display ad, but they’re even more interested in learning how your products will help them run their business better, which makes the content nature of logo/text ads more engaging.

If you have yet to incorporate some form of content marketing into your activities, then 2014 is the year to do so.

2. Relevancy boosts ad performance. The data is clear on this topic. In addition to our regular, weekly enewsletters, we also produce a host of topical enewsletters that are comprised entirely of content on one topic, such as Plant Nutrition or Weed Control. The ads in Meister Media’s topical enewsletters combined for an average click-through rate of nearly 1.6% in 2013. By comparison, ads in regular enewsletters produced an average click-through rate of 0.89%.

A key part of the value of digital marketing is the enhanced ability to target your audience – only buying the eyeballs most likely to be interested in your message. The benefits? Higher engagement and an extended budget.

3. There’s a reason for those pop-up ads you hate. They work. So do the wallpaper ads (think ads surrounding / behind the web content you’re reading). Wallpaper ads produced click-through rates nearly three times higher than other display ads while pop ups blow that figure away with CTRs that were almost ten times higher!

We get it – no one likes encountering those ads. But they are proven tools to consider adding to your ad buy in the future, particularly when you need to make a big impact.

Here are the benchmark figures derived from our analysis of every digital ad’s performance in 2013. Keep in mind that these are averages – a tool for evaluating how your ad performed. We still see significant variations in the high and low CTR for each ad unit with well-executed ads generating much higher click-through activity and poor ads not producing a single click.

First, the web ads…

Ad Unit


Pop up






Half page


Medium rectangle


Horizontal banner


Sponsored content





Now, the enewsletter ads…

Ad Unit

Avg. CTR



Half page


Medium rectangle


Horizontal banner






We do have and would be happy to share more detailed, brand-specific information for the performance of each ad unit in each of our different enewsletters or websites. Feel free to contact me or your sales rep for a copy of those numbers or do discuss how to put this information to work in your future marketing efforts.

The author is Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media, and he can be reached at 440-602-9129 or

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