Is online display advertising dead?

As a direct reposnse medium, perhaps. A recent study shows that:

Heavy clickers represent just 6% of the online population yet account for 50% of all display ad clicks. Heavy clickers are not representative of the general public.

This is backed up by…

other research from last year:

Ninety-nine percent of Web users do not click on ads on a monthly basis. Of the 1% that do, most only click once a month. Less than two tenths of one percent click more often. That tiny percentage makes up the vast majority of banner ad clicks.

So who are people clicking? Well, the most recent study says:

Heavy clickers skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000. Heavy clickers behave very differently online than the typical Internet user, and while they spend four times more time online than non-clickers, their spending does not proportionately reflect this very heavy Internet usage. Heavy clickers are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites – a markedly different surfing pattern than non-clickers.

And the one from last year:

Who are these “heavy clickers”? They are predominantly female, indexing at a rate almost double the male population. They are older. What kinds of content do they like to view when they are on the Web? Not surprisingly, they look at sweepstakes far more than any other kind of content. Yes, these are the same people that tend to open direct mail and love to talk to telemarketers.

It seems pretty conclusive to me (although bare in mind that this is US data). Combine this with banner blindness, and things don't look pretty for online dispay advertising, which is probably why it's getting cheaper and cheaper.

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  • george Lintott

    Surely all we have to do is avoid these crazy old women who spend their time playing bingo, clicking on ads? once these ‘heavy clickers’ are taken out of the equation it will be much easier to judge effectiveness. Online display being dead is a bit drastic!

  • Paul Ashby

    It was dead even before it was born!
    Recent research indicate that people log onto the Internet to go elsewhere…and 65% of elsewhere is pornography, so perhaps we could advertise condoms there…not much else though and I doubt that the ads would be looked at!
    Why does the advertising industry laud the Internet as the new exciting advertising medium…because it ain’t!
    “There’s too much (advertising) when you sign on”, complains MySpace user John Sigona (32) who likes the site but ignores the ads. “They don’t interest me,” he claims
    The average visitor to a website will stay for just 30 seconds. Television viewers watch a single channel for an average of only 11 minutes before flicking channels. In a world where we’re bombarded with more information than ever before, attention spans are shrinking faster than ever!
    No, forget the Internet we have to understand the word “communication” then prepare advertising in a totally different format to make it appealing and relevant!

  • Matthew Parker

    Advertisers will still love the internet at the moment, however, as it is the best way to prove a totally measurable result from their activity.

    Matthew Parker