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Online Measurement: 16% of the Web Clicking Display Ads

Written By: langdon on October 11, 2009 No Comment

Online Measurement: 16% of the Web Clicking Display Ads

The number of people online who click display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years, and only 8% of internet users account for 85% of all clicks, according to the most recent “Natural Born Clickers” study from ComScore and media agency Starcom. As the pool of people who click on banner ads rapidly decreases, it begs the question: Is the long-used click-through rate now officially useless?

Clickers only represent 16% of U.S. internet users, according to ComScore data from March. The study initially found that 32% clicked on display advertising in July 2007. If that first study, released last year, crystallized skepticism that click-through rates weren’t the be-all end-all success metric for display, this most recent report might just be the last nail in the digital coffin.

What’s more, the 8% of internet users that compose a majority of clicks is also down by half from the last study, which found 16% are responsible for 80% of clicks. The 2008 study found half of all clicks come from lower-income young adults, so prizing clicks ignores the vast majority of internet users, especially the types of users many marketers want to reach. This year, the study focused more on alternative measurement, suggesting that a low number of clicks doesn’t necessarily mean banners don’t work, but that marketers are looking at the wrong success metrics.

From client studies, ComScore found that display ads, regardless of clicks, generate significant lift in brand-site visitation, trademark search (searching for, say, Toyota or Prius) and both online and offline sales among those exposed to the ads. Within one week, consumers exposed to a display ad were 65% more likely to visit the advertiser’s site than users who never saw the ad. Even at four weeks, people exposed to displays ads are 45% more likely to visit the brand’s site.

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