Hospital Advertising: Click It…Or Not

October 21, 2009

Even though click-thru rates are down, internet display ads are still effective.

Computer mouse and hand with reflection

According to a study from Comscore and media agency Starcom, the number of people who click display ads has dropped 50% in the last two years.  Only 16% of web users actually click through. And 8% of internet users account for 85% of all clicks.

So does that mean web display advertising is not effective?  The answer is clearly “no”.  Even though click-thrus are down, the study found that display ads generate lift in site visitation and search.  Additionally, consumers exposed to a display ads were 65% more likely to visit the site than users who never saw the ad.  Even after 4 weeks, consumers exposed to display ads are 45% more likely to visit the brand’s site.

So the idea that click-thrus is the real barometer of web advertising effectiveness is erroneous.  Even if a consumer does not click through, just the exposure to the ad can lead to a website visit and engagement.  Banner ads are more effective than what click-thrus indicate.

The study indicated that online users exposed to a particular brand’s display ads are more likely to conduct searches for that brand.  So web display advertising works more like traditional advertising than previously believed.  The exposure to a brand’s ad on the web may not lead to an immediate visit to a website but the impression is made and can effect the consumer’s behavior later.

Combined with paid search, display ads can lead to consumers being twice as likely to conduct an online activity on the advertiser’s site.

Also interesting is that half of all clicks come from lower-income young adults.  Not necessarily the most desired audience for healthcare advertising.

Don’t judge the effectiveness of web banner advertising by the number of click-thrus.  That display ad can be working in the consumer’s mind long after the initial exposure.  

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