What does it take to get Internet users to click on ads? Advertisers have been trying to unlock that mystery for years. With the average click-through rate at .09%, new research commissioned by AdKeeper and WPP's 24/7 Real Media, and conducted by Nielsen, might have the answer.
The study conducted in March among 600 people ages 18 to 54 looked at consumer behavior in an attempt to understand why some Internet users don't click on ads. The range includes banner, expandable, video and rich media, excluding search marketing and Facebook. Those who participated in the study "hardly ever or never" click on advertisements they see across the Web.
It turns out that "distraction" remains the No. 1 reason people don't like to click on ads. The multiple choice study reveals that 61% say the ad takes them away from their purpose on the Web site. Fifty-eight percent don't see the ads as relevant, followed by 57% who are afraid clicking on the ad will trigger more spam from advertisers. Some 55% believe their computer will download a virus, 54% don't trust the ads, 46% are afraid pop-up screens will take over their computer screen, and 43% don't see ads as engaging.
Some answers were based on fear, but the majority of consumers just didn't want the ad to take them off the page, according to MaryAnn Bekkedahl, AdKeeper's chief revenue officer. "Most people think the consumer won't click on ads because they don't like them," she says.
Advertisers spend only 15% of their budgets online, while consumers spend 28% of the time they consume media on the Internet, according to AdKeeper. Closing that gap should become a priority for advertisers.
When Internet users participating in the study asked what would get them to click on ads, 17% admit if it didn't interrupt their browsing experience; 9%, seeing an ad from a brand they trust; 9%, seeing targeted and interesting ads; and 7%, ads with coupons or targeted discount codes.
AdKeeper suggests designing ads that allow the Internet user to learn about products or services without leaving the Web site page. The company also suggests building in relevant messages. Give consumers reason to trust the message and give them time to engage with the message on their terms.