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The Internet The Almighty Buck

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

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 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.

  • plus (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:24PM (#22398660)

    Sorry to be a dick, but you realize that "ad" is short for advertisement, which only has one "d" in it.
  • Re:No Money (Score:5, Informative)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:58PM (#22399174)

    Let's see some source for that, can we? If you want to continue spreading the myth that poor=stupid, then at least paste a link. The only thing that differs is what people buy impulsively. Rich people impulse buys cars, middle class people fancy clothes and poor people tickets to the movies.
    Poor != stupid. Poor = low income vs high expenditure which => stupid.

    This [bls.gov] (table 2) shows the very lowest income bracket spends more on random things then the two brackets above it. While the other demographics seem proportionate to their income with some skewing due to the cost of living. The literature about IQ and income clearly suggest a correlation with many other factors included and sibling studies suggest Intelligence correlates with income as well. So Poor = stupid may be ham fisted but it's well supported. Note correlation isn't causation and there is ample opportunity for outliers.
  • by ArikTheRed ( 865776 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:49PM (#22399846) Homepage

    It's not fraud and there's nothing particularly wrong with it unless you're running a frequent cron job to generate clicks redirected to /dev/null[1]. That's not fraud either. Google supposedly rejects large numbers of clicks from the same IP.

    As far as I know, it's not illegal anywhere except in the minds of webmasterworld wankers.
    Hm. Why understand what you're talking about when you can just make crap up, eh?

    The accepted definition of click fraud is closer to:

    Click Fraud is a type of internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad's link
    Use of a computer to commit this type of Internet fraud is a felony in many jurisdictions, for example as covered by Penal code 502 in California, USA, and the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in the United Kingdom. There have been arrests relating to click fraud with regard to malicious clicking in order to deplete a competitor's advertising budget.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_fraud [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_40/b4003001.htm [businessweek.com]
  • Re:No Money (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:51AM (#22405786)
    No, I hardly think you are weird (at least not for that reason). It all relates to hope, just as you said. When you believe the end result is still poverty, you lack hope. Why try to change something that you don't believe will change. But when you see money accumulating at a meaningful rate, you have hope about your future financial situation and are thus more willing to work towards it.

    "Meaningful" is the determining word here. I work in international development in poverty ridden nations and this is one of the biggest difficulties. People don't believe they can change their economic situation by saving money, so they don't save. The savings aren't "meaningful" to them because it will have an impact on a timespan outside their thinking. Most planning is done on a day to day, or hour to hour basis, but in no way are most of these people living at a subsistance level (as that form of planning might indicate). Generating hope by changing what a "meaningful" amount of money in the bank is is be difficult. Especially when they see all the wealth of developed nations on TV.
  • Re:No Money (Score:3, Informative)

    by krunk7 ( 748055 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:08PM (#22406902)

    which may sound higher than some entry-level college student jobs, but they stay $16/hour until you retire, unlike more professional jobs.

    This is incorrect. Yes, many of those that don't go to college end up "stuck" at 16/hr jobs for the rest of their life. However, in my experience (I put myself through college doing blue collar work in petro-chemical plants) these are the same ones that couldn't have made it through college if their life depended on it. As in, they did not possess the mental capacity to do so. I was decent at high school level math and was able to move up from a 14/hr position to a 20/hr position after a single job in a fab shop by demonstrating I could work out blue print schematics for field labor.

    Since my family comes from this area of work, I've been able to see first hand the potential it possesses for the diligent, motivated worker with 1/2 a brain. Many were able to increase their salaries from that 15/hr to 50/hr within 5-7 years in the industry. The more goal oriented could attain 60/70 per hour within 10. That's approx. 150k per year U.S. I now work in research at a university and many of my friends are making less then 1/3 of that after 8 years of college. After about 5-6 more years they *may* be making 2/3's of that pay. In private industry, they could approach this income but rarely exceed it except for a very small subset of career paths.

    Of course, the work is extremely unrewarding intellectually and it's often dangerous work if not hard (upper management work isn't physically intensive).

A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected.