2016 CTRs Beat B2B Standards

2016 Benchmark ad click-through rates


By Bob West

As if media companies didn’t have enough to worry about these days, 2016 presented a range of new concerns, many of which centered on the digital side of the business. Chief among these was the growing sentiment that click-through rates for traditional display ads were dropping as online audiences simply weren’t clicking on the leaderboards and medium rectangles like they used to.

Our analysis of more than 60 million ad impressions delivered via the Meister Media family of enewsletters and websites in 2016 found that these media prognosticators are wrong, as it pertains to our audience’s engagement with enewsletter and website ads. In fact, quite the contrary – the thousands of ad that produced these 60 million impressions produced an average click-through rate (clicks divided by impressions) of 0.29% last year, which essentially mirrored the click-through rate from 2015.

Here are the benchmark click-through rates for each ad unit we offered in 2016:

Enewsletter ads Topical enewsletter ads
Ad unit 2016 avg. CTR Ad unit 2016 avg. CTR
Medium rectangle 0.23% Medium rectangle 0.37%
Image/text 0.41% Sponsored content 1.01%


Website ads Native ads Sponsored tweets
Ad unit 2016 avg. CTR Ad unit 2016 avg. CTR Ad unit 2016 avg. CTR
Leaderboard 0.21% Enewsletter ad 1.20% Sponsored tweet 0.65%
Medium rectangle 0.15% Avg. time on page 0:58    
Half-page 0.32%        
Wallpaper 0.14%        
Image/text 0.18%        
Interstitial 1.58%        


Here are our three key takeaways for clients, based on this analysis:

  1. The first thing any digital advertiser should do before buying their enewsletter or website ad is clarify their goal with the ad. If your goal is to maximize the number of click-through visits to your website, then be sure to buy an ad unit with a high click-through rate.
  2. Content – especially educational information – engages these professionals much more effectively than any product-oriented messaging. We get into the keys to producing effective content marketing in a separate post, but the important point to note here is the that these audiences are most likely to click on content-oriented ads.
  3. Targeted ads delivered among quality, relevant content continues engaging these audiences and creating the click-through traffic digital advertisers value.

The brand-building impressions created through targeted enewsletter and online advertising creates much of the value derived from digital advertising. But many marketers buy these ads in search of click-through activity, so the strong click-through rates produced through our media in 2016 represents exciting news.

Bob West is Meister Media’s Commercial Digital Director, and he can be reached at 440/602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com.

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