Banner Clicks: Is The Advertising Industry Clutching At Straws?

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  • October 2, 2009

Yesterday we saw Google add a new AdWords feature that allows brands to track conversions “caused” by banners that were viewed but not clicked. The idea being that a user who views your banner and makes a purchase within 30 days should be attributed as some kind of conversion.

Today we have Linda Anderson from comScore explaining that brands shouldn’t worry about the fact that only 16% of internet users ever click on banners and that they should be thinking more about the value that might arrive from the 84% of users who see banners but never click on them.

Marketers who attempt to optimize their advertising campaigns solely around the click are assigning no value to the 84 percent of Internet users who don’t click on an ad. That’s precisely the wrong thing to do.

Savvy marketers are moving to an evaluation of the impact that all ad impressions — whether clicked or not — have on consumer behavior, mirroring the manner in which traditional advertising has been measured for decades using reach and frequency metrics.

The marketing industry is shouting loudly about the effectiveness of banner advertising and understandably so – media spend on banners is huge and for brands to lose confidence in the medium would be a disaster. However it seems that as an industry we are trying to add some extra value to cover the fact that the performance of banners is dropping year after year.

The problem I have is that just viewing a banner has absolutely zero effect on any buying decision I might make. People make the fundamental assumption that just because an ad has been loaded on a page it’s been “viewed” but that isn’t the case.

What would happen if PPC & SEO companies started taking credit for the impressions we were generating in the search results rather than the actual click throughs? We would get laughed at but it’s pretty much the same thing just without the images.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

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