Internet Advertising Outside the Box
The AP filed a release, reported in the Kansas City Star Monday, discussing the subject of the recent intense scrutiny of Internet advertising. During the third quarter of 2000, Internet advertising experienced its first-ever dip in revenues. Meanwhile, click-through rates, once touted as the best gauge of banner ad effectiveness, continue to decline.
Richard Hopple, chairman and CEO of Unicast Communications, notes that much current Internet advertising is failing to reach consumers, which necessitates looking for something that reaches people more forcefully than a banner ad. "People will close (traditional) ads. They won't watch it. So there has to be an incentive to people to watch the advertising. It has to be entertaining, or it has to be relevant or it has to be newsworthy," Hopple says.
So what shape will future Internet advertising take? Businesses are still trying to figure out how best to use it to promote their wares, and the riddle intrigues scholars.
Researchers at Indiana University seated students in front of computers last spring and stuck electrodes to their forearms. Students tested showed no response when static banner ads appeared on a screen of type. It was only when animated ads appeared that the electrodes registered a response.
A Stanford University-based team mounted eye-tracking headgear on people in Chicago and Florida to study where they focused while reading online news sites, including when and for how long they looked at ads. The work found that people's eyes first went to text and ignored graphics and ads.
At the University of Wales, professors showed people ads sandwiched between flashed images of saucer-eyed puppies and hairy spiders. The idea was to see if ad perception is influenced by the material that surrounds it.
All of this experience and research is prompting advertisers to try new tools like pop-up ads (interstitials), and rich media, which brings motion picture attributes to computer ads. "Advertising agencies and the people they work with are going to have to take a step back and see what works," said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services for NetRatings.
Read the whole story here.