Posted October 2, 2009 2:43 pm by with 8 comments

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glossy_arrow_1comScore reports that over the last two years, banner ads have seen a sharp decline in clicks—half as many web users click on banner ads now.

Two years ago, 32%—nearly one in three—web users clicked on banner ads; comScore’s data show that now only 16% do. And half of those clickers—one in twelve—account for 85% of the banner ad clicks.

comScore cautions, however, that the plummeting click metric may be less a sign of the dying banner ad format and more a sign that clicks aren’t the best indicator of banner ads’ effectiveness. And it’s true that banner ads may help with brand awareness—and may lead to other types of visits, including searches or type-in traffic.

According to Econsultancy, in fact, the greatest benefit from banner ads is that

display advertising still helps brand lift online — more clicks on a brand’s website, more searches on brand content. And combined with search advertising, consumers were twice as likely to make a purchase on a company’s website.

Also, Econsultancy notes, “According to ChoiceStream research, display ads can generate a 60% lift in click-through rates on search results.” And:

according to John Lowell, Starcom USA SVP and director of research and analytics: “A click means nothing, earns no revenue and creates no brand equity. Your online advertising has some goal — and it’s certainly not to generate clicks.”

But if said ads don’t generate any response, of course, it certainly seems like a waste of money to go into display.

What do you think? Are banner ads dead—or should clicks die as a metric? What’s the better monitorable alternative?

  • james

    Conversions, engagement, brand studies, etc are all better than clicks.

  • Yes, but how are independent measurement companies going to be able to measure those?

  • I agree with Econsultancy that clicks are not the real metrics of an ad campaign. After all ads in TV, Radio and print media have no such metric and companies indulge in advertisements to raise brand awareness and that is how it should be on the web as well.

    Of course if you are selling something online or need to drive traffic to your website, then clicks can and should be a metric, but not for traditional companies which need to create brand awareness, rather than traffic to a sales page!
    .-= Yogesh Sarkar´s last blog ..Dussehra 2009 =-.

  • Of course the flip side is that if you buy ‘clicks’ instead of impressions, your banners will be displayed twice as much, and add more brand awarness. For every cloud…

  • aaaania

    I think that engaging audiences works best. I try it here and it starts to show results 🙂

  • There seems to be a trend out there, bashing the image/banner ad.

    The view per conversion metric, that Google has announced may change that. At least you’ll know if a user was exposed to the banner within the last 30 days. I see this as being very useful.

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  • Banner ads are certainly not dying – unlike PPC, banner ads provide brand awareness as well as traffic to your website. They also account for huge amounts of type-in-traffic to your website.

    A marketing strategy NEEDS to have banner ads in their mix – if not, they are missing out on a huge customer base. 🙂