March 09, 2009 |
The frustration over performance of advertising has been quite visible for a while now already: after all, in recession companies are only willing to pay for advertising when they are certain they will see actual benefits in return with the most obvious one being increase in sales.
But lately we’ve been talking about people growing immune to ads, especially online which must be a very disturbing trend to advertisers. Where people switch channels on TV during commercial breaks or simply go to the kitchen or bathroom, when online people have two options – using an ad blocking plugin for their browsers or ignoring the ads overall.
I’ve been arguing for a long time that ad blocking is not fair as it deprives internet publishers of a certain remuneration we expect to get – yet in some content categories we have as many as a half of all visitors blocking ads entirely. And while I still believe this type of behavior is damaging the overall industry of internet publishing, we have to admit this is the fact of life on the web and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
But there’s another category of people browsing web sites that are supported with advertising and actually helping publishers make their revenue off ads (at least those CPM ads that generate revenue to the publisher every time a page is loaded by a visitor) but never actually bringing the results advertisers hope for – interaction with an ad.
Quite obviously, advertisers actually expect a visitor to either click an ad and hopefully make a purchase or at least to notice the brand represented in a display ad and eventually make a purchase decision in favor of this brand when choosing between competitors. Yet it looks like with time people grow more and more accustomed to ads and somehow manage to leave them on the background of their consciousness never actually noticing the text of an ad or the brand advertised.
Of course it is quite obvious that in these conditions advertisers are looking for new ways to attract attention from web surfers and we will eventually see some new innovative type of ads that will ensure more engagement of web users with ads and will eliminate the blindness that many of us currently have towards internet ads of all types.
Yet it looks like in the developing internet markets that are behind the mature markets of the US or UK or Australia the situation is pretty different and people actually pay attention to internet ads – and are even willing to interact with them.
Today I have seen results of an interesting survey focused on the behavior of Russian internet users when it comes to ads. The most interesting revelation of the survey is that as many as 3.4% of internet users actually click ads online to buy a service or a product. And while the vast majority of internet users are irritated by certain types of ads, there are still some users (as many as 4% of the entire web population) who are not irritated by any types of ads – even pop-ups.
At that contextual advertising is still way more important for the Russian internet advertising market: it holds as many as 58-59% of the market (with projected growth in 2009 to 62%-65%) and people are actually more willing to click contextual ads (12.7%) than they are to click banner ads (11%). What’s more, a contextual ad is told to irritate web surfers much less than graphic ads do and is even considered to be more informative.
So it looks like there are markets where people still notice ads and actually click those ads – to read the content of the target site, evaluate and compare advertised products and make their purchase decisions. But it looks like those are pretty new and rapidly growing markets where internet users simply have not had enough time to develop that famous banner blindness we see everywhere in the more mature markets. But the reality is that sooner or later these new markets will grow mature enough for their users to learn to ignore ads even without blocking them – and this will obviously require new advertising solutions that don’t even exist for now.
You will find the results of the survey here (in Russian)