“I actually work for a company that does a lot of online advertising campaigns, so I think I can shed some light on this. The honest-to-god truth is that the people in charge of these campaigns have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. They describe their target audiences with phrases like, “Interested Non-Users,” or by using terms they’ve made up, such as the gag-worthy “prosumer.” Clients ask for a “viral” campaign, and by the way, they would like it live and “viral” by next week. A friend of mine said he had to shoot down one of those noise-making banners in a meeting. I don’t want to name companies in a public post, but for the sake of contextualizing this, let’s just say they are large and well-known.
When discussing the click-through rate of banner or email campaigns, the discussion centers around fractions of a percentage point. These are not highly effective campaigns (I’d wager that many of them even lose money), but the people in charge of running them have a poor grasp of what they are actually dealing with. I often find myself wondering whether the people pitching these ads have ever been on the internet at all. They hear buzz words such as “viral,” and they say, “Yes, I want that,” without actually grasping the concept behind what they are asking for.
My suspicion is that a lot of the heavy click-through is associated with people who are new to the web. Most urban people (especially those with a higher level of education) have been using computers and the internet for some time now. We recognize advertising, and we’re jaded towards it. Many people who do not use computers at school or work are new to all of this – they haven’t built up the thick skins that the rest of us have. Rural housewives are probably the demographic with the most click-throughs because they are one of the newest demographics to get online. I consider my own mother to be pretty web-savvy, and she is neither rural nor a housewife, but I’ve watched her accidentally click ad banners and wonder why she’s suddenly on a different site.
Of course, the punchline to all of this is the fact that most click-throughs don’t translate to actual sales. If an ad campaign is relying on accidental click-throughs, or on attracting the attention of a niche market who can’t afford what they’re selling, then the joke is on the person footing the bill. The model is clearly broken, and most people in the industry know that, but the people signing the checks aren’t in on the joke.”
Insomma, sono sempre sbalordito del fatto che non esistono studi seri in proposito, ma comincio a capire perché non esistono studi seri in proposito.