Oct 1 2009

Display Ad Follow Up: What is 16% of Clicks Worth?


by Andrew DiFiore

As a follow up to my earlier post Google Makes Good on New DoubleClick Ad Exchange, AdAge reports that the number of people online who click display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years and only 16% of US Internet users are clicking. Nevertheless, ComScore maintains that display ads are still effective when paired with Paid Search. This is probably true enough but I would add to the mix optimized Landing Pages. And of course, good creative and a compelling offering helps.

Personally, I never felt impressions or click-throughs were a valid measurement of ROI in the digital world. Yes, there is something to be said about the value of people just seeing your brand but I’m not convince this is enough to justify the costs. It is too easy to exaggerate these numbers and their significance on engagement.

Displays ads (and the way they are measured) are transplants from print where advertising is passive, one-way. If the copy is clever, the imagery provocative, and the message on point, you can acquire mind-share in the reader’s brain (whether she realizes it or not). Mind-share is fleeting in our information saturated world (the average American is exposed to over 3,000 commercial messages a day, blah, blah, blah) which is why you must repeat your message often and everywhere. We all know that.

But online display ads don’t have to be passive. This is the Web, baby! You can create a multimedia experience that interacts with the visitor, maybe even “know” what she is doing, and be the empathic gateway to a meaningful exchange. Now that’s mind-share that sticks. Don’t know what I mean then check out Nike’s The Human Race 10K (kinda eerie).

In short, display ads have their place in the marketing mix. But to be truly effective at engagement, think outside the box. Better still, think: online there is no box.

Read the entire AdAge article here.