The results of a new poll from Harris Interactive indicate that Internet advertising isn’t as effective as search engine marketers would like to think. When asked what medium’s ads were most helpful in making purchase decisions, the 2500+ American respondents indicated that first television, then newspapers, then search engine ads. Internet banner ads fared even worse:
- 37% said television ads were most helpful in purchase decisions
- 18% said newspaper ads
- 14% said search engine ads
- 3% said radio ads
- 1% said Internet banner ads
Perhaps most revealing, however, is the math. Those numbers don’t add up to 100% because another 28% (rounding effects) said that none of those ad media were helpful in purchase decisions.
The Harris poll also asked about what kinds of ads people ignore. Again, the banner ads didn’t do so well:
- 46% tended to ignore Internet banner ads
- But only 17% of people said they ignored search engine ads
- 13% ignored TV ads
- 9% ignored radio ads
- 9% don’t ignore any of those ad media
The full results (PDF) break out the data by demographic and geography:
I’m kind of torn about these results. I’ve long said that as an Internet marketer, I’m proud to have people so subtly influenced by search engine ads that they don’t recognize that influence later. On the other hand, it’d be nice to be considered “helpful.” On yet another hand, since when is the point of advertising to be found “helpful”? Should that even be our goal?
What do you think? Is this something to get worried about, or should we go along our merry way, advertising or persuading but not “helping” people?