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?