The results of an update to the ComScore "Natural Born Clickers" research conducted two years ago indicate that the number of people who click on display ads in a month has fallen from 32 per cent of Internet users in July 2007 to only 16 per cent in March 2009.
The research was presented by comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni and Kim McCarthy, manager, Research & Analytics at Starcom, at the iMedia Brand Summit in San Diego on September 14, 2009.
As reported in MediaPost, the original research showed that 32 per cent of Internet users clicked on at least one display ad during the month. These clickers were segmented into Heavy, Moderate and Light Clicking segments based on the group of users (heavy), middle 30 per cent (moderate), and bottom 20 per cent (light).
In 2007, comScore, Starcom and Tacoda found that Heavy clickers, representing 6 per cent of U.S. Internet users, accounted for the top 50 per cent of clicks, Moderate users, 10 per cent of Internet users, accounted for 30 per cent of the clicks, and Light clickers, 20per cent of users, accounted for 16 per cent of the clicks. By March 2009, those numbers had dropped substantially:
- 4 per cent of Internet users are Heavy clickers
- 4 per cent of users are Moderate clickers
- 8 per cent are Light clickers
Linda Anderson, comScore VP of marketing solutions and author of the study, concludes that, "marketers who attempt to optimise their advertising campaigns solely around the click are assigning no value to the 84 per cent of Internet users who don't click on an ad "
The results underscore the notion that, for most display ad campaigns, the click-through is not the most appropriate metric for evaluating campaign performance. Rather, advertisers should consider evaluating campaigns based on their view-through impact, says the report.
Despite the precipitous decline in clicks, MediaPost reports that, comScore is advocating looking beyond the click because other comScore research has shown that online display ads generate significant lift in trademark search, online and offline sales, and brand-site visitation across all verticals, among those internet users who were exposed to the online ad campaigns - whether they clicked on the ad or not. These results, compiled in comScore's influential "Whither the Click?" white paper, were reported in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research.
John Lowell, Starcom USA SVP/Director, Research & Analytics, notes that, "a click earns no revenue and creates no brand equity... online advertising (is) certainly not to generate clicks... (but) to visit website, seek more information, purchase a product, become a lead, keep brand top of mind".
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