People Don’t Like Display Ads…

Another shocking article from today’s Marketing Magazine update: Canadian’s don’t like online display advertising and they don’t trust it. (well, approximately 62% of us feel that way):

“62% of respondents said they are skeptical of paid advertising included within their Internet searches. This may be a reflection of the early days of the Internet, where pop-up advertising and viruses were more commonplace, said Mark Laver, study author and associate vice-president of Ipsos Reid.”

Sorry Mark – it’s not the early days, it’s everyday. Nobody wants to be bothered by a voken, pop up, boring rich media execution or in-your-face standard ad.

We go to sites for content, to connect with others and to research information about a product or something that we’re interested in. I’m pretty sure nobody has ever searched the web frantically hoping that they’ll come across a display ad that they’re interested in clicking on.

Search, on the other hand, is working. Especially from a consumer confidence standpoint. The Marketing article shows that 44% of Canadians have clicked on sponsored, search links. It makes sense right? I’m looking for something and the sponsored link answers that call.

Remember my angry post about how I wanted proof for certain things? Now I want something else:

  • Marketers to consider (just consider) banning display ads from their media plans

Why just consider and not eliminate completely? Because once you consider you’ll start down the path to thinking about digital performance (through enhanced metrics) and not just throwing up a few ads on the most popular sites.

Think about it. How many people actually remember an online ad? 5 out of every 100? 10? Eyetracking studies have shown that we are pre-conditioned to ignore sponsored sections of a page and just focus right on the content. Even if it’s a hot shiney ad, chances are we don’t care.

So what’s the problem? Well for starters, even though we don’t care, the site and media company still counts that as an impression for client. Sure, the traditional buy will included millions of impressions but what are they worth if 90% of your audience doesn’t even see the ad and only 0.03% of them click on it?

This is where you say, “But AdJoke, online advertising spend has been increasing dramatically in North America over the last 4 years. What do you make of that?”

First off, just because advertisers are spending more to garner more impressions online doesn’t necessarly mean it’s translating into sales or ehnancing brands. Second, a large chunk of that increase comes from search because it makes perfect sense.

Rich media executions and pre-roll video are decent ways at grabbing attention, but in the long run, aren’t we going to try to avoid these annoyances as much as possible? Firefox, IE7 and Chrome all have “ad blocking” tools pre-installed. What happens when these tools become the norm and display ads aren’t even seen?

Oh wait. They’re not really seen anyways. What the hell are we worried about?

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