Mark Twain & Ads on our Websites Have Something in Common

By Bob West

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Mark Twain is known for that quote, but I feel like online display ads could make the same claim. Meister Media delivered more than 30 million ad impressions for 205 clients across seven different websites in 2017, and guess what those ads did? They offered considerable brand-building exposure while also delivering nearly 70,000 click-through visits to clients’ websites.

The resulting click-through rates were essentially unchanged from the previous year. That’s an average click-through rate of 0.23% (Average click-through rates for each of our web and enewsletter ad units can be found below). I’m not going to pretend that 0.23% is some sort of world-beating figure that makes our websites the best ever, but I’m also not going to silently stand by and let the prevailing narrative about the death of display ads minimize the value ads on our websites offer clients. The average click-through rate for all display ads across the entire Internet has been reported to be around 0.05% — ads on our sites produce four times as much engagement!

Display advertising undoubtedly faces its challenges, including:

  • The rising use of ad blockers (about 7% across Meister Media’s websites)
  • Advertising restrictions being incorporated into new software from Google and Apple
  • The shift toward mobile web use (about 43% of all visits to a Meister Media website in 2017)
  • Internet users’ general unhappiness with many of the ads they encounter online

But not all websites treat advertising (or their visitors!) the same way, and ads on B2B websites, in particular, often offer the type of compelling value that interests and engages web users. That means online advertising clearly offers value to marketers looking to reach greenhouse growers, ag retailers, cotton producers and the rest of the Meister Media markets.

As a media company, we need to ensure that our websites continue evolving to provide the best-possible experience for our audience and the best-possible value for our advertisers. And our clients need to ensure that they’re creating the most effective ads that serve the audience’s needs and communicate truly valuable information to them. When that happens, the ads will catch the audience’s attention and deliver value to the marketer.

So, without any further evangelizing, here are the average click-through rates for each enewsletter and website ad unit we offered in 2017.

Benchmark CTRs from 2017
Website Enewsletter
Medium rectangle 0.20% Medium rectangle 0.23%
Leaderboard 0.20% Image/text 0.40%
Half-page 0.24% Native ads 0.94%
Wallpaper 0.21%
Image/text 0.63%
Market banner 0.28% Topical Enewsletters
Gallery 0.52% Medium rectangle 0.41%
Interstitial 2.70% Sponsored content 1.08%
Sponsored tweet Leaderboard 0.30%
Sponsored tweet 0.81% Medium rectangle 0.28%


Bob West is the Commercial Digital Director for Meister Media. He can be reached at 440-602-9129 or