Impressions vs. Clicks in Digital Marketing

It is the age of digital marketing.

In fact, digital marketing has become as common as sliced bread.

Moreover, the usage of Smartphones for accessing the web has propelled the growth of digital marketing.

Mobile web usage has surpassed desktop usage.

And the margin between the two continues to grow.

However, in spite of the huge popularity of digital marketing, there are scores of internet marketing professionals who are not at all familiar with the web terminology.

For them, web terminology is utterly confusing.

So, today we take up two of the most important terms in digital marketing that have been widely misunderstood by even the most experienced internet marketing professionals.

In this post, we show you the difference between Impressions and Clicks in digital marketing.

It’s a post about Impressions vs. Clicks in Digital Marketing.

The post helps you to be more informed about these terms.

You get to know what they mean.

To begin, let me first tell you that both Impressions and Clicks are related to the payment method used in the world of online advertising.

They measure the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

In fact, the terms Impressions and Clicks are the most common terms used in digital marketing.

What is an Impression?

Impressions are the most basic interaction that you can have with a page. Moreover, it can hardly be termed as an interaction.

In fact, an impression is a view.

When you ad is loaded and displayed in front of a user, that is recognized as one impression.

So, an impression is simply a view of your ad.

One view = one Impression.

It could be a text ad, banner ad, or video ad.

Impression Ad

Simply put, it is the number of times that ad appeared on any computer screen anywhere in the world.

In case, a person sees your ad multiple times; they will be counted as multiple impressions.

However, unique impressions result when a unique number of people see your ad, regardless of the fact that how many times they viewed it.

When the same people get to see your ad on multiple devices (desktop, phone, or tablet), they get counted as a unique impression for each device.

Now, the question arises, what’s the point in having impressions.

Well, you can’t generate clicks without impressions.

Users have to see your ads before they go on to click them or not.

It is known as CPM or Cost per Mille. Here, Mille means thousand. So, if you are paying $2.0 CPM, $2.0 will make you earn 1000 impressions on your ads.

Here, it is important to note that as an advertiser, impressions are the least advantageous way to purchase advertising.

In spite of the fact that your ad is being viewed, but is it really does something for you?

As an advertiser, CPM ads can be useful for brand awareness as you can show your ads to a large audience for the very low price.

For publishers, CPM can be a good option if they get fewer clicks on the ads on their website. As they don’t have to worry about clicks they can earn on ad impression (CPM basis).

Have a look at some of the Best CPM Ad Networks.

What are Clicks in Online Advertising?

Now, we move on to clicks.

A click is said to occur when a user goes on to actually clicks on your ads. It is a bit more involved.

Like CPM, CPC – Cost per Click – goes both ways.

You can pay for X number of clicks on your website.

You can also run advertising that goes on to pay you for every X number of clicks. In either case, the click turns out to be the basic unit of measurement.

CPC is more of a pricing model.

Click Ad

However, it can also be used as a metric.

Google AdWords is the best-known company that uses the CPC pricing model. It charges on per click basis.

So, the advertiser needs to come up with excellent ads that are worthy to be clicked on. It is beneficial for the advertiser as well as the platform.

So, you see that clicks are much more relevant than impressions.

In fact, you need to get an impression in order to get a click. Likewise, you require a click for getting a conversion.

That said, people can also find your site through other means and convert directly, without even seeing your ad.

However, all clicks do have a potential for leading you to conversions. That’s the reason why clicks are so important.

You can also use affiliate ads.

In fact, affiliate ads need to be clicked.

A tracking code is put on the session of the user who clicked it.

It tracks the user till conversion.

If users convert, you get a higher payout.

Here, it is also important to brief you about Click-through Rate (CTR).

It gives you the percentage of people who go on to click your ad from the total impressions.

For instance, if you had 10000 impressions out of which 100 clicks were generated, then the CTR would be 1%.

For having a good CTR, it is important to concentrate on the ad creative.

So, the “ad looks” plays a big role in determining whether a user clicks on your ad or not.

That said display ads have an average CTR of about 0.6%.

For Google or Bing Ads, a CTR of 2% is considered pretty well.

A conversion might result after a click. It is much more valuable than a click. A conversion is an action taken by the user such as:

• Making an online purchase.
• Filling out a form.
• Signing up for eNewsletter.
• Downloading an eBook.
Click ads or CPC ads are good for both advertisers and publishers.

Advertisers have to pay only for clicks and not for impressions, so they only pay when visitors visit their website.

Compared to CPM ads CPC ads cost more.

For publishers, if they can get good clicks on their ads, CPC ads are the best option for monetization. They can earn good money by using CPC ads on their website.

The best example of CPC ads is Google AdSense for publishers and Google AdWords for Advertisers.

Have a look at some of the Best PPC/CPC Networks.


We hope that by now you know the difference between the digital marketing terms – Impressions and Clicks. Impressions show up your ads, whereas Clicks leads to conversion.

However, we would like to emphasize that you need to optimize your ads so as to derive maximum advantage of your digital marketing efforts.

The best ways to do it is through testing, experimentation, repetition, and iteration.

If you found this post useful, do share it with your friends and colleagues. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

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