The truth about paid advertising online

posted in: Stuff

Online advertising spending has a downward trend and some believe it will continue

As internet users evolve, they stop clicking at the first thing that moves. I remember when the internet was this strange new thing (circa 1993) and most of the time I was just trying to find what to click. That certainly changed over time. The internet has become an every day tool for most of us. The internet has permeated the way we do business, make purchase decisions, share information, keep in touch and work.

Most kids now can’t even conceive a time when there was no internet. It’s not uncommon to hear, “Dad, what did you do before to find this or that when there was no internet?” or “Really? There was no Google?”. As users (and consumers) grow online and evolve, the internet changes with them. Along with users and the web, marketing has to constantly evolve and adapt.

On my previous post, I talked about brand awareness and how some businesses benefit from this effect online. Browsing today, I found two articles about how clicks on display ads* are dropping. This has happened before, and is repeating as the most recent wave of new online users is learning and avoiding unwanted ads. Internet makes users active evaluators of the information offered and rarely are we searching for a new ad, unless you work for marketing and want to check out the competition.

I have been telling my clients that more than the stats (Click Through Ratio’s, Clicks) that most online marketers focus on, we should look at exposure, brand awareness and what Dean Donaldson calls “Dwell”. What is Dwell? I’m not sure, but I can consider it as the effect of the user hovering around your ads, not necessarily clicking, but being marginally aware of the information contained in it, and by this effect, actually generating a print in their minds which can be considered a form of brand awareness. Hence, the term Dwell will fit right into this phenomenon.

If your online expert, internet marketer or even, web designer, talks only about clicks, their missing on the effect of a well managed brand presence as brand awareness. It does matter how you position your brand, the most innocuous and simple advertisement online can mean bad associations (eg. a flicking banner annoying the user, an ad popping up and bugging the prospect) and an unconscious negative perception of what your product or service is. This would make your prospect, of course, less likely to buy from you.

Some numbers from ComScore and Starcom “Natural Born Clickers” study:

  • Click on display ads has dropped 50% in the last two years;
  • Consumers exposed to display ads are 65% more likely to visit the advertisers site than those that had never seen an ad;
  • Half of all clicks on display ads come from lower income young adults.

In summary, heavy paid ad clickers are young, male and with low income… hardly what most companies envision as their target audience.

*Display ads are usually ads inserted in webpages with images, text or a combination of both.