14 February 2008

Why is Online Advertising So Effective?

Because it can be measured. Because the person paying for the ads can be presented with numbers that look big - doesn't quite matter what the numbers are, mind you, just that they're numbers. And they're big.

But certainly, for promoting brand awareness, for increasing offline sales, for "converting" clicks to credit card charges (unless you're in the identity theft business, which is a whole other story), online advertising is not very effective at all. A recent study on the behaviours of what it calls "natural born clickers," paints a gloomy picture for most conventional (that is, founded in a broadcast mentality by fogey marketers) digital branding strategies:
The study illustrates that heavy clickers represent just 6% of the online population yet account for 50% of all display ad clicks. While many online media companies use click-through rate as an ad negotiation currency, the study shows that heavy clickers are not representative of the general public. In fact, heavy clickers skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000. Heavy clickers behave very differently online than the typical Internet user, and while they spend four times more time online than non-clickers, their spending does not proportionately reflect this very heavy Internet usage. Heavy clickers are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites – a markedly different surfing pattern than non-clickers.

Further preliminary Starcom data suggests no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics, and show no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked. The research presentation suggests that when digital campaigns have a branding objective, optimizing for high click rates does not necessarily improve campaign performance.
Time to rethink what branding is all about in the UCaPP world, boys and girls. And that, as it turns out, is one of the themes of the keynote I'll be giving at next week's Consumer Trends Forum International conference in Boston.

I won't spoil the surprise, but here's a hint: It's not about vision any more.

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1 comment:

Jeff said...

6% of the population are heavy clickers, and those heavy clickers account for 50% of the total clicks on ads...now that is an interesting fact