Residual Clicks: Clicks Past the Run Date




Sometimes you get a little more out of an online ad buy than you paid for. There can often be a trickle of traffic even after the ad goes down.

When an ad runs online it typically has a stop and start date. For example, imagine you bought banner ad space or a text ad on a website. If you were watching the traffic on a graph you’d see the numbers start to roll in after the ad goes live and stop rolling in when the ad gets taken down. Turn the ad on and the traffic comes in. Turn the add off and the traffic stops. That makes sense right?

Start End PlateauUnlike a banner ad on a website, a banner on a newsletter performs a little differently. Instead of seeing even traffic over time, graphing the visits over time looks more like a mountain than a plateau.

Think of what’s happening: the newsletter is sent out and within one hour the greatest number of people view it. The next hour is still pretty good, but less than the first and so on. Within a week or so the views drop down to practically nothing – most people who were going to open the newsletter have already done so. The interesting thing is that some people might hang on to an old e-mail that interested them. These virtual hoarders might click on that banner a month or year down the road. So you never really know when a newsletter sponsorship is done bringing traffic absolutely, but in a practical sense most of the traffic is over in the first 24 hours.

The really interesting thing about banner ads and text ads running on websites is that sometimes traffic comes in even after the run’s end date, sometimes resulting in a trickle of visitors that are even more engaged that during the initial run. How do these Residual Clicks happen? Are people saving the pages and re-opening them months down the road?

Suppose you ran an ad for terrariums on a website that had a feature article that month on “Bombardier Beetles”. The ad goes up and one thousand people click on it and visit your website. The ad goes down and you don’t see any more clicks for a few months. Then, all of a sudden, you start to see about 10 or so people a month coming from that ad. How can they if its still not up? Where are they coming from?

The next post will explain where these Residual Clicks are coming from, how they got there, and a realistic example will be shown.


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