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Happy birthday banner ad...bet you wish click through rates were still 78%

AdAge has a piece showing that the banner ad is now 15 years old, where Frank D'Angelo talks about how his agency, part of Euro RSCG, was the 1st to try out the new medium on Hotwired.com (a then offshoot of Wired).

The first display ads were produced for the likes of AT&T and Volvo. And the click-through rate? A whopping 78%. Good times for advertisers in a medium that was then a real novelty for the small band of web users.

How times have changed. 78% click-through? I now usually use the figure of 0.83%. But it seems if anything I was being generous as a Comscore blog post cites an even lower figure - 0.08%.

The point of the Comscore article by Mike Shaw is to carry on promoting the line 'it's not about clicks, it's about awareness!', and in the post Comscore promises to soon release results for the European market showing how display ads "work over time."

Perhaps. Yet at the same time I'd ask do people even notice that they are there? Less than 1/20 social networkers pay attention to ads and banner blindness is now a huge factor.

However, surely the point is: Instead of tying themselves into knots over metrics and trying to prove, 'hey this online advertising really works!', marketers should concentrate more on doing integrated campaigns online much as they would offline.

For example, another Comscore study has shown that 50% of 'social media exposed' surfers searched for product terms every day, compared to 33% of 'non exposed surfers.'

Just like with an offline campaign, advertising CAN work - if the various market disciplines work online in tandem and there's as much, if not more, emphasis on engaging consumers with conversation and compelling content, as there is in trying to raise 'awareness' via an ad campaign.

Above - the Internet in 1994. Enjoy!

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  • Robin Carey's picture
    Oct 29 Posted 7 years ago RobinCarey You know when ad peddlers have to rely on "awareness," they're in trouble.  Further problem with banners -- and click-throughs for that matter -- is that they still dominate pricing models.  Social media screams for more customized, "word-of-mouth" valuations, which ultimately should show up in increased transactions, not "impressions."

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