Definition: ‘Impressions’ Vs ‘Clicks’ In Digital Marketing

Impressions vs clicks in digital advertising


Campaign performance measurement is much easier in digital marketing than it is in traditional marketing. This is because online marketing platforms provide users with a wide array of tools and metrics for the assessment of the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Clicks and impressions are among the most basic metrics in marketing – find their definitions and differences below.


What Are Impressions In Digital Marketing?

Ad impressions show the number of times online advertisements were displayed to users. Impressions represent the total number of times your ads have been viewed within a time period, e.g. a day or a week.


What Are Clicks In Digital Marketing?

Ad clicks is a metric showing the number of times online users have clicked on a digital advertisement. Clicks are a crucial metric in digital marketing since each click represents an opportunity that the user will convert – that is, make a purchase, sign up for an online course, or perform any other action pursued by the marketing campaign.


Why Impressions And Clicks Are Important In Digital Marketing – Click-Through Rate

Impressions and clicks are combined to calculate a number of metrics important in digital marketing – most remarkably, click-through rate (CTR), measured in percent (%). CTR is calculated as follows:

CTR = Clicks / Impressions

As an example, if an ad has had 1,000 impressions and 10 clicks, its CTR would be 10 / 1,000 = 0.01, or 1%.

Independently, clicks and impressions are insufficient for determining the performance of a digital marketing campaign. By combining these two metrics, CTR allows digital marketers to see how often ads have been clicked relative to the number of times they have been viewed.

A high CTR shows that online users find your ads helpful and relevant. CTR may be used to determine which ads, listings, and keywords are successful (or not successful), allowing you to fine-tune your ad campaigns.

Clicks are also used to calculate metrics like CPC (Cost Per Click).


Advertising Networks May Define Clicks & Impressions Differently

The phrase "Google AdWords" lined up with letter cubes.
Courtesy of Pixabay.


Bear in mind that ad networks may have their own ways of defining and calculating clicks and impressions. For example, Google counts clicks even when the user doesn’t reach the target website, whereas other ad platforms may not register clicks in such cases.


The Term “Impressions” In Paid Vs Organic Traffic

Also important to note, one may hear the term “Impressions” used when it comes to organic traffic too, and not just paid traffic.

For instance, a Twitter user may track his accounts “Impressions” to see how many times his tweets were seen in a given period.

Similarly, a blog owner might be curious about how “Impressions” his website got in search results relative to how many times they were clicked on.



That is a breakdown of the difference between “Impressions” and “Clicks”.

It is important to remember, however, that they are very general terms, and one may see them used in a variety of ways online.

For this reason it is important to determine the exact nature of how they are measured within the traffic source or medium one is operating in.



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