Tips for living in a post-click world
The percentage of internet users who click on banner ads is half what it was two years ago; 8% of web users account for the majority of clicks. The click is officially dead.
I’ve distilled some statistics from a ComScore study on banner advertising trends into a YouTube presentation (also shown below). As margins of click-through rates dwindle, it’s important to realize that clicks are not the only way (or even the best way) to measure online advertising success. After all, brand awareness cannot be measured by clicks, and banner ads do raise exposure for a brand in the realm of search. While these factors aren’t supported by direct click metrics, they do make significant contributions to the success of an overall marketing strategy.
Tips for living in a post-click world.
- Examine the fit. How do you set up overall metrics across the entire mixture of media, and where do banner ads fit in? Just because online is directly measurable doesn’t mean it should be held to a higher standard than vehicles that don’t have this built-in capacity for metrics, such as print advertising or TV.
- Think about entry points. How do people end up at your website, and how much revenue do they generate? How do the sales of a product on-site compare with consumer exposure to ads? Display advertising reinforces the brand and should never be considered a waste of money, even if people don’t click.
- Be aware of indirect effects. Brand-awareness studies, purchase-intent lifts and engagement rates should be more of a focus rather than the direct-response measurement of clicks. After all, users may interact with an ad or notice it, never click – and visit later.
- Track where they go when they click. On-site page view measurement is more important than simple CTRs (click-through rates). When readers click your ad, do they end up where they want to be? Your real measure of success is how much time they’re spending interacting with your content.
- Get rich media, quick. Banners have evolved to a destination, rather than a simple doorway. Rich-media extends the metric focus past click-through rates and into engagement time. Innovations like embedded video and twitter feeds are increasingly changing customer attitudes to advertisements – offering real value that boosts brand preference.
- Get creative. Include a strong call to action with a clear, creative message that demands clicks.
- Be transparent. This may be the most important. A major reason many users don’t click on display ads is because they’re wary of the bait-and-switch — a tactic too many advertisers have adopted. If you make an offer or a promise, make good on it… post-click.
Have you noticed a drop in click-through rates as advertising on the Internet has matured? What have you done to counteract the trend?
Contributor: Jennifer Umali