Ad Tech & Ad Ops

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Ad Tech & Ad Ops

Interesting Facts about the Banner & Display Advertising

Display Advertising/Banner click-through rates (CTR) are at all time low. To anyone reading, This is not any new information. The downward trend has been visible since the early 2000s. I recently came across an interesting article from Mike Volpe on the subject of Display advertising, which presents 10 Shocking Facts about Display Advertising. It gives you a number of reasons why Banner advertising is not very effective. I don’t totally agree to this. Banner Advertising is as effective as the person working on its strategy and the success depends upon how much constructive efforts have gone into it, just like any other form of online Marketing. The Ad creative, ad copy and the overall strategy play an important role. After all it’s a $16 Billion market. Nobody would spend that much money, without any realistic returns. However, the article came out with some really interesting facts. Here are the most interesting ones:

  • The average click through rate of display ads is 0.1%.
  • Only 8% of Internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads. (This was taken back from 2009, I am sure this would have improved significantly by now, especially with the introduction of Re-targeting)

Now, the shocking ones:

  • You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad. Tweet this.
  • You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. Tweet this.

So, I did some research and here are my ten additions to the list of shocking facts about display advertising (for fun):

  1. You are more likely to get accepted into Harvard and Stanford both, than click a banner ad. Tweet this.
  2. Nearly 6 trillion display ad impressions were delivered across the web in 2012. (Source: comscore) Tweet this.
  3. You are more likely to get accepted into The Y Combinator, than click a banner ad. Tweet this.
  4. The average banner CTR is 0.1% with the highest being in Malaysia (0.3%) and the lowest being in Finland (.05%). Tweet this.
  5. You are more likely to live in a household that earns more than $2 million each year, than click a web banner. Tweet this.
  6. The top three ad formats comprise nearly 80% of all served ad. (Source: Doubleclick) Tweet this.
  7. You are more likely to have your baggage mishandled or lost while flying, than to click a banner ad. Tweet this.
  8. You are more likely to birth a baby with blue eyes, even when both parents have brown, than click a banner ad. Tweet this.
  9. The large rectangle (336×280) has the highest average CTR (0.33%). Tweet this.
  10. You are more likely to have been arrested for a marijuana related crime, than click a banner ad. Tweet this.

Now setting the fun facts aside, what are the possible solutions to make the banner more effective?

  • New Metrics? – Another way to look at the banner is through metrics other than the most widely used which is “CTR”. A lot of other options exist:
    • Ad Engagement – No industry standard definition yet, but primarily reviewing if the ad creative is appealing and if a user interacted with the ad in any way such as a mouse over the ad for a certain period of time.
    • Display time – The time for which the ad was visible on the page.
    • Engagement Time – The time for which user interacted with the ad.
    • As per Google, Technology is helping advertisers factor in- emotional engagement and impact on offline behavior (like in-store shopping choices) as display advertising metrics to measure a campaign’s ROI.
  • Rich Media? – Rich media, so far, has proved to be very effective at improving ad engagement. From videos to games to carousels and forms, all available in the banner ad. A 2012 study by media mind states that rich media ads are three times more likely to bring prospects to your websites than traditional banner ads. According to ClickZ, rich media advertisements can generate 6 times higher engagement rates than static display ads. Take a look at this article on how rich media can increase engagement and improve ROI on display advertising.

    Adzerk powered ad on Reddit
    Ad feedback on Reddit
  • Different way of Targeting? – Google primarily uses contextual targeting to put ads on publishers’ website. No doubt this is the best option available for advertisers at the moment but this clearly isn’t working very well. Facebook lets you use “Custom Audiences”, or in a way allows you to target users on the basis of their profile, demographics and how they have interacted with your website or content, but again, we know that the CTR on Facebook is generally much lower, in comparison. A better way would be to use targeting in a different way. For example, this is the reason why retargeting ads work better than normal ads. Similarly, letting user take control of what they want to see and what they don’t want to see, can help increase the Ad engagement and CTR. This can be accomplished by a simple ad feedback system such as the one which is offered by Adzerk and currently in use on many popular sites like Reddit and stack-overflow. It lets users give a thumbs up or down to an advertisement.
  • Fewer Ads? – Google predicts that by 2015, the average number of banner ads seen by an internet user will decline by at least 25%. People will less banner ads but the ones they will see, will be more relevant and connect with the user which will take up the engagement rate.

What do you think? Any other way of making the banner less annoying and more effective?