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The Internet The Almighty Buck

6% of Web Users Generate 50% of Ad Clicks 341

Posted by kdawson
from the born-to-click dept.
pcause writes "A recent study finds that 6% of Web users generate 50% of the click-throughs. Worse news for advertisers: these clickers are not representative of the population as a whole, most have incomes under $40K, and their clicks are not related to any offline buying. (They are mostly males between 25 and 44 years of age.) The number of clicks on an ad campaign is also not strongly correlated with brand awareness for the ads' subject, according to the study. This is bad news for ad-supported Web sites and businesses, as rates should drop if the Net economy begins to take these findings seriously."
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6% of Web Users Generate 50% of Ad Clicks

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  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:15PM (#22397396)
    The remaining 50% are made up of people who just gotta punch that monkey!
    • by spun (1352)

      They must see it as some sort of rival. "Hey, that monkey's lookin' at me funny!" Monkey see, monkey click.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by erick99 (743982) *
        I click out of pure curiosity. But then, I also enjoy looking at junk mail :)
    • by 6Yankee (597075) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:42PM (#22397902)
      Punching? I find spanking it to be much more rewarding.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Urza9814 (883915)
      I love the duck pond ones - if you have a pop-up blocker, you never get the reward. And you can keep clicking past the three and your 'hits remaining' counter starts going negative. As it gets lower, the ducks move faster, until eventually you can't even see the things - but if you keep clicking randomly, you'll still manage to hit a few.
    • I always play the ones that make me shoot 20 targets. I take a little FPS break from what I'm doing to shoot 19, then get back to whatever I was up to before.
    • Slogan (Score:5, Funny)

      by JonTurner (178845) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:11PM (#22398434) Journal
      "Dummies. We click, so you don't have to."
    • The whole premise of this articlie is that males 25-44 are the ones clicking all those adds.

      I don't think that it's a coincidence that this is the major porn veiwing public, nor that most adds (and add supported sites) are for porn
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tattood (855883)

        I don't think that it's a coincidence that this is the major porn veiwing public, nor that most adds (and add supported sites) are for porn

        While I won't argue that a significant part of the Internet is dominated by porn, I find it hard to agree that the majority of the ads, and ad supported sites are pornography based. If that were the case, sites like Yahoo, New York Times, and other non-porn based websites would be getting very little ad revenue, and therfore would be shutting down due to lack of income to pay for the site.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Sites like Yhoo and the NYT have gazillions of money to keep afloat "until ad-based revenue finally makes it profitable". Which it is, only because advertisers pay much more than what the ad space is worth, as demonstrated in the study referenced in TFA. This study just shows that the people who buy ads are wasting their money unless they're doing pr0n.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      The remaining 50% are made up of people who just gotta punch that monkey!

      Man, this is just crying out for a G. W. Bush joke. Must ..... Resist...
           
  • by croddy (659025) * on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:17PM (#22397420)
    Maybe I am just evil, but I would not have posted this if I worked for a site that generated a lot of revenue through banner ads.
    • by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:30PM (#22397684)

      Maybe I am just evil, but I would not have posted this if I worked for a site that generated a lot of revenue through banner ads.

      Why not? The summary was, as usual, quite inaccurate: "This is bad news for ad-supported Web sites and businesses, as rates should drop if the Net economy begins to take these findings seriously." That's not what the article says.

      The article says "While the click can continue to be a relevant metric for direct response advertising campaigns, this study demonstrates that click performance is the wrong measure for the effectiveness of brand-building campaigns." This is actually good news for sites like Slashdot and other technical sites that cater to a higher-end/less-clicky audience. It's essentially saying, "Don't assume the campaign isn't working just because you don't get click-throughs."

      As such, I'd expect it to raise rates since it's basically eliminating the only "reliable" way of concluding that an ad is or isn't working. They're saying that that one metric that people thought they had is actually a poor indicator of success.

      To me, this looks like something that will drive the industry back to pay-per-impression rather than pay-per-click--at least for branding campaigns. Which are really the most important for bigger advertising spenders anyway. If you put a banner up for a vacation to Hawaii, sure, a few people will already be planning a vacation to Hawaii and might click. And maybe a few will say "Hey, Hawaii, great idea, let's go." But for the vast majority, that's just one more thing that gets in their mind so when they do think of a vacation--perhaps months after the banner ad--well, they might just be a little more likely to go to Hawaii than some other destination.

      The value of advertising is usually in targeting long-term spending habits, not getting a one-time sale. You think that when someone advertises for millions during the Superbowl that they actually get a million dollars of immediate business as a direct result of that ad? Nah... but over time it gets in their consciousness and leads to changes in long-term spending habits that do more than pay for themselves.

    • by guttentag (313541) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:39PM (#22399736) Journal

      Maybe I am just evil, but I would not have posted this if I worked for a site that generated a lot of revenue through banner ads.
      You would if you worked for Yahoo.

      Microsoft
      You'd come out of the "how do we get Microsoft to leave us alone without subjugating ourselves to Google" brainstorm meeting determined to convince Microsoft that online advertising is not the next big thing, it's the next big inflated idea that's about to burst and take a lot down with it. A huge part of Microsoft's reasoning behind the acquisition is that online advertising is about to take off, and if they can't kill Google now they'd better buy the #2 player so they have a larger piece of that pie. So you'd quietly see to it that this report about the value of ad clicks gets a lot of attention right after Microsoft announces it's going to pursue a hostile takeover.

      Shareholders
      Shareholders believe Yahoo has been losing value because it's losing to Google in the ad space, so Yahoo would want to point out that ads aren't the whole game for them. This report downplays the value of online advertising in the future, which would allow Yahoo to suggest that its premium, subscriber services will be a significant source of revenue. This is a bad idea, though, in my opinion. I've been subscribing to their premium services for years, but recently decided to cancel them after someone hijacked my Yahoo account, changed my password and began impersonating me through IM, email and other services during the three days it took them to get me back into my account. And in the aftermath, Yahoo has ignored every email I've sent about this. Bottom line: Yahoo lacks the security and customer service to maintain subscription-based services, and as this happens to more people they will also drop the services.
  • HAHAHAAHAHHAHAHA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    and with these statistics google is worth 100+ billion dollars???

    hahahahaahahahahahahahahahaha

    sell now suckerss!!!
    • by Altus (1034) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:32PM (#22397716) Homepage

      I wouldn't be surprised if googles text ads had a better rate than a lot of the banner ads I see.

      Seriously, how many people are going to buy anything that was advertised with a "punch the monkey" style ad? How many people choose their mortgage company because they saw some flashing crap on the web. The people who are drawn in by these ads don't buy houses.

      On the other hand, every time I do a google search I check those ads out. When I'm emailing about something in gmail I will often see related ads and they are often very relevant. Several times I have written an email to someone with a line like "I wonder where I could buy something like X?" and as soon as I send I see an ad up top for a web site that sells just what I am looking for. Thats good advertising. I'm not clicking through because I felt like playing some stupid flash game in an ad, I'm clicking through because I wanted to buy the product being advertised.

      I think its really more an issue of the approach the advertisements take to get those clicks that has been resulting in less sales per click.

      • by cmowire (254489)
        Indeed, the only times that I've ever purchased something directly as the result of a banner advertisement is from a very well targeted search advertisement for search terms that didn't attract too many spammers

        (purple LEDs, if I remember correctly)
      • The problem with the housing market may be a lot of people bought ARM mortgages from Punch-the-Monkey click ads. Stupid people buying from questionable mortgage companies.

        Spam does sell. There must be some twit in the thousands of Mortgage spam out there for it to be effective. Flash ads like the dancing people/aliens. If they didn't work, we wouldn't see it.

        And now the idiot that did that is going to get foreclosed on, dragging YOUR home value down. Or the government will bail him and the banks out, causin
        • by Altus (1034)
          yea but I bet a bunch more click through due to the "oooh shiny" effect of those ads. They then get to the web site and see all these numbers and percent signs and don't understand where that damn monkey went so they hit the back button.
      • by SL Baur (19540)

        When I'm emailing about something in gmail I will often see related ads and they are often very relevant. Several times I have written an email to someone with a line like "I wonder where I could buy something like X?" and as soon as I send I see an ad up top for a web site that sells just what I am looking for.

        I've had that experience too. Actually, the ads that showed after send were exactly the answer I was looking for.

        There are hilarious failures - like the Minix 3 ads that always show up when I'm reading lkml. Often enough though, the ads shown for a device driver patch lead to where you can purchase the hardware. This seems to be happen more often when it's accompanied by a patch description that makes Andrew Morton happy and guess who he works for ...

        Thats good advertising.

        It's part of why Google is worth all those billions

      • Not sure why, between emails from my girlfriend and not-even-spam messages from (straight) porno sites, but it does.

        If you're @ the googleplex please make sure gmail knows I'm straight! I am much more likely to click if it seems likely there's nekkid womenz on the other end.
  • by whyde (123448) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:18PM (#22397448)
    I propose limiting their ad clicking on the ISP side with advertising traffic shaping. It is an unfortunate market reality, but these ad-clicking hogs are wasting valuable advertising bandwidth for the rest of the users, and it must be stopped.

    Don't let 5% of the ad clickers ruin the internet "experience" for the rest of the users.
    • by BeeBeard (999187) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:46PM (#22397972)
      But what about those of us who are too lazy to even click on an ad, but still want this "experience" of which you speak!?

      If only there were some way of putting the ads on the screen without even having to click on them. Perhaps the ads could even be in separate browser windows that are created and filled with ad content automatically--"popping up," if you will, onto the screen? That way, the user can take full advantage of valuable money-saving opportunities without having to complete the arduous task of clicking a mouse button!

      Dare to dream, dare to dream.
  • Ah, good old soviet union. Send these 6% to gulag and domain-squatter and probably spam problem solved.
    • by gnick (1211984)

      Send these 6% to gulag and domain-squatter

      That's the worst idea I've heard all day (and I've heard a few.) Those 6% are generating the ad revenue that pays for the pages that the rest of us AdBlock. I say keep 'em clicking! If they don't keep making the ads profitable, every site on the internet is either going to have to be subscription-based, blatantly commercial, or independently funded by somebody with enough $$ and motivation to keep it up.

      These 6% are heroes - They're paying for a lot of our interweb.

    • "Accounts of the Soviet gulag system should be suppressed even if true, since otherwise the French working class might become anti-Soviet."

      -- Jean-Paul Sartre, 1933


  • Is this really upsetting? It seems that in comparison to blasting the air waves with an untargeted advertisement or littering the countryside with billboards this is still a good idea.

    Perhaps is just that advertising on a whole is questionable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Perhaps is just that advertising on a whole is questionable.

      Exactly. Advertising is one of those businesses that seem to make a ton of money and carry a lot of weight when the so-called "important messages" are spewed at us nonstop during events or shows both big and small. I too ignore almost all advertisements as a general rule. Who in their right mind would take some slick video advice from the assholes trying to sell you their widget rather than do the research on your own, or just make an impulse b
  • Rates or targets? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:23PM (#22397550)
    The only online advertising that this will hurt are the mass spam adds. Anything being targeted at a specific demographic can be easily and verifiably checked. As an example, anyone who runs adds on a site like Penny-Arcade can be quite sure that any click throughs are exactly the type of people they want to reach. Click throughs from adds run on Slashdot? They know the type of people doing the clicks. Random Click-here-for-hyped-product-of-the-moment? Not so much.

    Personally, I think this is a good sign. Adds targeting specific audiences and communities tend to be more respectful and interesting. If these findings promote that kind of advertising instead of flashing spams adds designed to distract, then hooray!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      >> anyone who runs adds on a site like Penny-Arcade can be quite sure that any click throughs are exactly the type of people they want to reach

      Retards?
    • Also (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      While people may not be clicking, that doesn't mean the ads aren't getting them thinking. Google holds the record as only site where I've ever clicked on an ad and bought something. That is because their ads are extremely targeted and they've been linking to sites actually selling something I want when I'm ready to buy. However, other ads still make me consider products. I've never bought anything from Think Geek by clicking on an ad, but the ad has got me thinking about something I might want, which I may
    • As an example, anyone who runs adds on a site like Penny-Arcade can be quite sure that any click throughs are exactly the type of people they want to reach.

      That depends on how broadly you define 'the type of people you want to reach'. PA readers include both sexes, all races, all ages, all creeds, all walks of life - a pretty broad swath of humanity, and impossibly wide for assuming 'what type of people they are'.
      • by Telvin_3d (855514)
        Well, in this case, every one of them is going to fall into the category of those who play and buy video games. Now, if you are advertising hair care products, paying for ad time on PA is going to be pretty hit-and-miss. If you are advertising a videogame, you are in better luck in 2 ways. First, every eyeball that sees it is a potential sale and you can use the webpage hit #s as a rough guide buying your ad. Second, it becomes a safe assumption that every click on that ad equals one person who has beco
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)
      Click throughs from adds run on Slashdot? They know the type of people doing the clicks.

      What kind of person even sees the ads on /.?
  • by superskippy (772852) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:23PM (#22397570)
    The thing to bear in mind here is that the ads that were about before the internet- TV spots, posters on the street, pages in magazines and newspapers, jingles on the radio and so on have a click-through of zero. Yet people still bother with them.

    The real problem here is that the pay-per-click method doesn't charge advertisers fairly. A combination pay-per-view, and pay-per-click model might be better.
  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elysiana (1152995) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:23PM (#22397572)
    Hmmm people who actually click on ads rather than blocking them are actually likely to click on other ads also? Then when they realize that they did not, in fact, win a free iPod, they don't buy the product that is being sold?

    I am less than shocked.
  • We do know that some ISP's redirect ad references and fill in pages in transit with different ads. How long before these same ISP's generate phantom client clicks for the ads the insert? Not really that hard to add on and they can even throw that traffic away at their incoming service boundary. This would provide the ISP with a higher value from the advertisers point of view.

    Opps have we broken commercialization again.

    Other thought,
    What percentage use a hosts file and no-script to block out ads? These are l
  • I typically go directly to where I am making my purchase, Amazon, Newegg, etc.

    On the rare occasion I do see an ad that I might be interested in, I still don't click it. I will just type in the URL of the company, because I want to get a feel for the site before I drill down to a particular product.

    That said, I appreciate those 6% for "sponsoring" free content. Thanks!

  • by oni (41625) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:30PM (#22397690) Homepage
    If true, this 6% figure is good news. If it's really this small number of people, then it should be possible to track them down and kill them.
    • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:47PM (#22398012) Homepage Journal
      NOOOOOOO!!!! We NEED these people! The WWW is supported by ads, so as long as these people do all the clicking, no one will mind if the rest of use use AdBlock, custom /etc/hosts files, etc.

      Now, killing all the people who buy from spammers, I still support, though I'd rather kill the spammers themselves. Spammers are truly evil; the people who buy from them are merely stupid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)
        Spammers are truly evil; the people who buy from them are merely stupid.

        There's a difference?
    • by jd (1658)
      They're in Innsmouth, they look vaguely squid-like and they're totally insane. What more do you need to know?
      • I thought the "Innsmouth look" was more "fishy-froggy" than "squidy". Ia-R'lyehl Cihuiha flgagnl id Ia...

  • by cmowire (254489) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:30PM (#22397698) Homepage
    The problem is that advertisers want to pay per-click to get per-impression results.

    There's no "click" on TV or radio or newspapers, just an impression. But when people realized that there *was* a click-through to be recorded on the web, they wanted to pay for that under the assumption that click-through and impression were correlated and therefore that they could gauge if their intended audience was getting the ads by the level of click-through.

    This makes things easy. If the click-through on an advertisement is high, clearly you need to keep it there. If it's low, it's clearly not properly targeted. This can be automated to run without human intervention. The survey disproves this.

    So, really, what it's showing is that the web advertising market needs to be structured more like a traditional media buy.

    I suspect the biggest winners in this market will be large web companies with enough folks to have an advertisement team and captured demographics information to be able to say "Sure the click-throughs are all 35 year old virgins with a crap job, but the *viewers* are actually mostly upper management level people with a wife and a mistress"

    And, since this is Slashdot, we can make the logical conclusion that the companies in the article were paid by one of the aforementioned large web companies with enough folks to have an advertisement team and captured demographics information.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Or it means the people with the ability to track demographics (like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google) just became a lot more important because they are the ones that can really provide that information, not some advertising section of a retailer that bases their information on what people put in a web form.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      And, since this is Slashdot, we can make the logical conclusion that the companies in the article were paid by one of the aforementioned large web companies with enough folks to have an advertisement team and captured demographics information.

      FTFA:
      TACODA®, Inc. (www.tacoda.com), a wholly owned division of AOL and a Platform A company, runs one of the worlds largest and most advanced behavioral targeting advertising networks.

      I didn't know they were owned by AOL, but I've had them blocked for years.

      P.S. comScore provided the "captured demographics information" from 2 million opt-in people

  • Well Duuuh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Boogaroo (604901) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:32PM (#22397726) Homepage
    Seriously, the ads I click on are 99.9% accidental. I think I've clicked on about five ads I actually WANTED in the last ten years.
    Is it any wonder that the people who are clicking on ads constantly are not the "average joe?" Most people hate commercials and other junk that gets in the way of what they were looking at.

    "Oh, another ad for the same BMW I switched away stations on the radio, muted on TV, and flipped past in the newspaper. I think I'll click on this one because it's in the middle of my news story about Britney Spears' latest breakdown."

    I wonder what correlation there is between this 6% and the people who click on the "V1agr@" spams in their email.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by calebt3 (1098475)
      5 clicks=0.01 percent of your ad clicks
      So you've had 5000 ad clicks in the past 10 years.
      5000/(365*10)=1.37 clicks per day.
      Why are you encouraging them (advertisers)? ;-}
    • Re:Well Duuuh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by anpe (217106) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:56PM (#22398170)
      Well, actually, I click on ads as a sort of reward on blogs I find interesting. I don't even look at the ad, just click a random google ad link. My reasoning is that if the blog post is interesting, I can add my 0.02€, literally.
  • The same goes for offline advertisements. How many of the junk snail mail adverts do you read? I grab it all and toss it without a second look, most people do. I've recently gone over this issue with a modern art professor (many of todays ads get taught in art classes now believe it or not) and he talked at length about saturation. You can't do anything, go any where without being bombarded with this crap and it's gotten to the point that most people tune it out.

    I myself make mental notes to never do busine
    • by gnick (1211984)

      I myself make mental notes to never do business with certain advertisers I feel are shady (which is more than I like to admit).

      I do too, but unfortunately those shady tactics (I include inexcusably ugly/loud/hard to avoid) are effective on a lot of people. Which, of course, is why they're still around. I had give my step-mother a firm talking-to after noticing a stick of Head-On in her bathroom.

      [As a side note, I would have tried it out, but I couldn't figure out how to apply it.]

      • by XanC (644172)
        Your comment is startling to skim quickly without instantly remembering exactly what "Head-On" is...
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:37PM (#22397812) Homepage
    Ever heard of Brand Awareness? Getting a banner ad out there and seen by hundreds of thousands of people three or four times a day is worth it if you have a product to sell that already has good distribution. Even if these ads never generate clickthrough, they are still worth it.

    Furthermore there are only two ads I click on and it NEVER leads to my buying things. The first are informational ads. Like I clicked on that Chevron Ad on Slashdot recently. I was interested in all the various energy distribution and generation methods they were persuing. The Second are Text ads for companies I really dislike. I will click the advertised link because I know it is costing them money. Ya it may only be one cent but it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
  • FTA: (Score:3, Funny)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@mind[ ]s.com ['les' in gap]> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:41PM (#22397872) Journal
    Heavy clickers are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites

    So basically they're unemployable opportunists with no ability to assess risks.

    The surprise here is that it took three companies working together to figure this out.
  • I would think a more interesting figure, and perhaps not even able to be inferred from this research, would be to determine how many users don't even click-through at all. If it's greater than half... I would say the adserve business is pretty useless. But hey, dont they pay people to click-through anyway? Maybe, we found the 6%! Oh, the irony if so!!

  •   Wow - I wanna see the meetup of that 6% of tiny-penis, high-quality-meds-taking, fake-watch-wearing, lottery-ticket-holding, nigerian-bank-account-holders who are all chatting about the sexy-bored-housewife they met via their inbox.

      i'll being my perpetual motion machine and some investment stock certs.
  • by janeeja (1238160) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:45PM (#22397954)
    This story made me think of two things: quote from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle [wikipedia.org]

    The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes.
    And: I also remember research being done regarding p2p networks and social behavior. I think it was preformed by at&t or something in that direction. 90% of the total amount of p2p clients were up/downloading only 10% of the total available content. Not very efficient..... for ISP's etc. jnj.
  • duh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moracity (925736)
    It doesn't take a "study" to realize that only imbeciles (or people new to the internet) actually click through internet ads. These are probably the same people that buy infomercial and home shopping channel garbage.
  • "DUH"

    And yes, this is a meager attempt at being humorous. Not a serious reply at all. Please go back to sleep. :P
  • I wonder what percent of ad clicks are either (a) misclicks or (b) stuff like punch the monkey or "do you like George Bush" or "Take the gay quiz and find out if you're gay" and other things that people click on for reasons having nothing to do with actually wanting to buy anything.

    It works the other way around too -- people may not click on that Budweiser/Coke/Southwest Airlines ad, but it increases brand awareness so next time they're booking a flight or ordering at a restaurant or whatever they think of
  • is what about GOOD advertisements. Slashdot sometimes have interesting ads that are decently targeted (especially if you consider that the people who are NOT targeted by these ads are using AdBlock or something). The better gaming web sites often have decent game adverts. Google ads (on the actual search pages), depending on the search, often comes up with decent links (especially the big sponsored ones at the top. Not the cheapo ones on the right).

    If you take out the "2174071401 free smilies!!" and the "ME
  • If I am on a site such as purepwnage.com, an internet radio station, or something else that I enjoy a lot (gametrailers.com is another), I will click the ads just to help the people that run the site. Unless the ad is EXTREMELY interesting, or it is for a company that I would have gone to buy something from anyway, I will just close the window once it loads.

    The same goes for folks with small websites or blogs... like my own. ::wink wink::
  • ... they don't realize that we all mute or FF TV commercials as well!
  • YES, salvation is here, not only do these three companies tell you that you have a problem, they also tell you that they can FIX it for YOU!

    Ain't they nice.

    Never trust advertising and this is never more true then when advertisers sell their own product.

    Basically the entire "article" goes, "the way you are doing it now is wrong, we sell another way and it is better according to our figures".

    Statistics used by marketing, even Satan himself would balk at such devilry.

  • I'm probably in that 6%. I always click the ads on sites that I frequent. To be fair, I spend at least a few minutes on the advertiser's site as well. Only once did it lead to a purchase (PocketPC software), but the option is always there.

    Of course, my own sites are funded by advertising, so I have a vested interest in seeing the industry succeed.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:39PM (#22398870)
    Click advertising has and never will be a successful marketing mechanism for the internet as a whole. Sure there are some products and some sites that it works, but these are rare.

    Just like television and other successful forms of ad generated industries it is all about product placement and brand recognition that has to be used.

    The smartest advertising sites have ads for Coke, or Honda where the advertisers DON'T expect the person to click, but to just view. Just like TV...

    After 100 years of influention psychology in advertising for brand recognition, it is scary that a 'bright' new technology doesn't understand the simplicity.

    No matter if you go back to the begining of a 'want' instead of a 'need' consumer base that boomed in the 50s or even the first 'marketing' firms based on Freud during the 'need' based economy in the US prior to that, nothing has changed.

    Do you think Burma-Shave would have worked if people had to get out of their cars and pick up a flyer on the product at each sign?

    Sure things are faster and harder to notice on the internet, but still, you got 5 secs to grab someone's attention, don't disturb or annoy them and DON'T make them do anything and you have a successful ad. PERIOD.

    Some of the best advertising that is working on the internet is from youtube type of sites providing commericial content. You can watch any TV show in the world legally, and at your own schedule and you have 4 or 5 15secs pauses of ads. Yet people are 'use' to it, and the ads are becoming the most successful because they live up to the simple rules from the above paragraph.

    This can be done with static site and news as well, heck even do a cute Flash/Silverlight video on the page, just don't use sound and don't expand over crap to disturb the person. Product recognition is not a conscious thing anyway, so determining it by ad clicks requires concious involvement. Bad Idea, Bad Model, and Bad Method to test advertising success.
  • by RexDevious (321791) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:00PM (#22399198) Homepage Journal
    Of course people who click on ads are atypical. We know that already, and it's been statistically neutralized out of the equation.

    There are only 2 goals for an ad, brand awareness, or profit.

    I don't need to tell you about brand awareness, you've all seen ads that we're on the internet before, and can figure out why they're there.

    For profit ones just break it down into ROI. You don't *want* everyone clicking on your ad. That's why you hear a lot more about "click-fraud" than "impression fraud" when you're in internet advertising.

    The original article seems like it was written by people using very out dated methods of media buying. I don't know anyone who evaluates ads based solely on "clicks" for the same reason I don't know know anyone who evaluates websites based on "hits" anymore.

    Sure, we still look at Cost per Click; because that ties back into brand awareness values to some extent, but the real vector is Cost per *Conversion*; what did we pay per *customer*. Ya figure out how much a customer is worth, you know how effective your ads are.

    But internet advertising is still relatively new. It has a long way to go catch up to even Direct Mail in many cases. And as long as it's still profitable to do it clumsily, you'll see it done clumsily.

    Which is also the reason that women see ads for Viagra, and men see ads for Oprah's book club.
  • by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:02PM (#22399236)
    How much garbage do you get via snail mail?

    Last I checked, getting a 6% "click thru" via direct mail advertising was considered a really good run.
    (That is... customer gets ad, and calls for info or comes in)

    Direct Mail is still profitable...
  • The number of clicks on an ad campaign is also not strongly correlated with brand awareness for the ads' subject

    On the internet, brand isn't near as important as relevance. That said, once relevance is achieved and the web surfer has a choice of web pages to choose from, then brand plays a more prominent role (ie: they'll choose a website they know over one they don't know).

    As for the rest of the study's findings, I think you couldn't possibly convince a reputable marketer not to invest more money/talent/energy into online marketing. There's a lot of fluidity and change on the internet, but the upside is just far too great.

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