Presented by comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni and Kim McCarthy, manager, Research & Analytics at Starcom, at the iMedia Brand Summit in San Diego on September 14, 2009, the original research showed that 32% of Internet users clicked on at least one display ad during the month. These clickers were segmented into Heavy, Moderate and Light Clicking segments based on the group of users (heavy), middle 30% (moderate), and bottom 20% (light).
In 2007, comScore, Starcom and Tacoda found that Heavy clickers, representing 6% of U.S. Internet users, accounted for the top 50% of clicks, Moderate users, 10% of Internet users, accounted for 30% of the clicks, and Light clickers, 20% of users, accounted for 16% of the clicks. By March 2009, those numbers had dropped substantially:
Heavy, Moderate, and Light Display Ad Clicker Analysis (Total US Home, Work and University Locations)
Share of All Internet Users
Share of All Click-Throughs
Source: comScore, September 2009
Linda Anderson, comScore VP of marketing solutions and author of the study, concludes that "... marketers who attempt to optimize their advertising campaigns solely around the click are assigning no value to the 84% of Internet users who don't click on an ad... "
The results underscore the notion that, for most display ad campaigns, the click-through is not the most appropriate metric for evaluating campaign performance. Rather, advertisers should consider evaluating campaigns based on their view-through impact, says the report.
Despite the precipitous decline in clicks, says the report, comScore is advocating looking beyond the click because other comScore research has shown that online display ads generate significant lift in trademark search, online and offline sales, and brand-site visitation across all verticals, among those internet users who were exposed to the online ad campaigns - whether they clicked on the ad or not. These results, compiled in comScore's influential "Whither the Click?" white paper, were reported in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research.
Display Ad Lift (Site Reach Weeks 1-4 After First Exposure)
CPG & restaurant
Retail & apparel
Media & entertainment
Electronics & software
Source: comScore, June 2009
John Lowell, Starcom USA SVP/Director, Research & Analytics, notes that "a click earns no revenue and creates no brand equity... online advertising (is) certainly not to generate clicks... (but) to visit website, seek more information, purchase a product, become a lead, keep brand top of mind... "
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