Magazine article Marketing

Online Ads Should Be Judged by the Right Benchmarks

Magazine article Marketing

Online Ads Should Be Judged by the Right Benchmarks

Article excerpt

Agencies and clients alike need to step back and apply some offline principles

Whatever you read nowadays, you cannot escape comment on the imminent demise of the banner ad and online advertising in general. Click-through rates are diabolical, with the industry average about 0.5% or lower, and there seems to be a downward trend.

So should we all give up and go home? To be honest, going by some of the examples of so-called brand advertising out there, some of us should. But I believe the sector is in danger of being judged and sentenced on a set of subjective criteria.

When banners first appeared, click-through rates were astronomically high, regularly hitting 20% to 30%. Was this because they were brilliantly executed pieces of interactive communication? Of course not. It was pure novelty value. Consumers were simply not used to seeing animated messages appearing on their screens and clicked through out of curiosity more than anything else.

Exactly the same thing happened with video banners and subscriptions to e-mail updates from various sites. So what then is the point of banners, if not to stimulate sufficient interest for the consumer to want to find out more about the product or service advertised?

Well, obviously that is part of the point. But research from Millward Brown shows that consumers take notice of banners, but do not always click through. This is supported by internet usage studies, which have recognised that while two years ago consumers went on to the web to surf and see what was available, they now visit with a specific purpose in mind and are far more focused in their interaction with content.

Consumers are also far more selective in terms of the sites they visit and tend to operate from a portfolio of favourites that cover their needs and aspirations much of the time. …

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