|Keys To Display AD Success. Location, Timing, & Frequency.|
|Friday, 05 August 2011 10:31|
A new study by Casale Media, based on their analysis of nearly two
billion ad impressions generated during the 1Q 2011, shows that
online ads appearing "above the fold" are nearly seven times more
effective at generating a click through than those appearing "below
the fold," and that the more times someone sees an ad the more
likely they are to click through and take action.
Users are three to four times more likely to act on an ad if it is the first or second one they see during their session, says the report. Ad effectiveness plummets as the user progresses through their online viewing.
And, repetition works to an extent. Ads shown five times or more to a user were 12-14 times more effective than ads shown less than five times.
Three criteria relating to the serving of online banner ads were examined:
On the premise that advertising is all about capturing the attention of one's audience, the study tests the hypothesis that not all impressions are created equal, by evaluating the effect of three ad placement variables (page positioning, view order and frequency) on campaign performance (quantified in terms of click and action rates).
Three ad delivery parameters were examined to evaluate their influence on the number of resulting clicks and actions:
The analysis revealed that when displayed above-the-fold, ads are almost 7 times more effective at generating a click than ads delivered below the fold. The ratio is virtually identical when considering whether an action was completed. These results support the findings of numerous studies based on eye tracking data, according to which users spend the vast majority of their time looking at information positioned within a page's initially viewable area.
The impressions sampled for this study are segmented into eight different tiers ranging from 1st-2nd position to 255th and beyond. The data corresponding to each tier shows that both clickthrough and action rates decrease rapidly as users progress through their online journeys: ads ranking in 3rd to 6th position see their click and action rates plummet compared with ads showing as 1st/2nd impressions (almost 3-fold and more than 4-fold respectively).
This data suggests quite clearly that as users are exposed to more and more ads within their browsing session, those ads become less and less effective at capturing the user's attention, to the point of oblivion (a.k.a. banner blindness). The earlier an ad is shown to a user, the more likely it is to be noticed and therefore, effective.
This echoes a common practice in print advertising, where "early" pages, situated near the main editorial content, carry a higher advertising rate. Interestingly, the data shows that there is still value to extract even from very low ranking impressions. Although these will makeup some proportion of any inventory, they should be excluded from cases where an advertiser buys and values campaigns based on exposure alone.
It has been said that it takes nine times for a marketing message to move a prospect from a state of total apathy to purchasing readiness. The results of this study certainly lean in the same direction, as both click and action rates dramatically increase, almost 12- and 14- fold respectively, for ads that have been shown 5 times and over.
As in offline advertising, several exposures are required to achieve some degree of familiarity and to register with users. However, it is also a well known fact that over-frequencied ads can be counterproductive. To mitigate the effect, "frequency capping" mechanisms may be implemented to limit the number of times an ad is delivered to the same user or "frequency optimization" to determine the optimal cap for a specific campaign.
The report concludes with some final thoughts:
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