I got a call last Thursday from CBC TV - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - who wanted to conduct an interview with me based on a press conference in Montreal regarding online advertising. I had no clue what they were talking about. I quickly checked on Google News. Nothing. I placed a call over to IAB Canada - Interactive Advertising Bureau. Nothing. Then, as the InfoPresse Integrated Marketing Conference came to a close, I ran into a friend who had just come from the event. It was put on by CEFRIO. I had never heard of CEFRIO.
Here's what the website says:
"CEFRIO is a liaison and transfer centre comprising nearly 160 university, industrial and governmental members and 51 associate and guest researchers. Its mission is to help organizations to be more productive and contribute to public well-being through recourse to the information technologies as a means of promoting change and innovation. CEFRIO conducts, in partnership, throughout Québec research, pilot and strategic monitoring projects devoted to the adoption of the information technologies. These projects cover all sectors of Québec's private and public economy. The major part of funding for CEFRIO initiatives comes from its members, and from the Québec government, its main financial partner."
Here are some of the key learnings from their Net Pub! 2006 report:
- 2,500 adult Quebecers took part of the survey.
- 93% pay little attention to online ads.
- 7% click on ads.
- 80% find online ads invasive.
- 60% often or occasionally check websites after seeing a URL in a magazine or brochure.
- 50% check websites after seeing the URL on a TV ad.
So where did the media focus? Yep on the 93% who pay little attention to online ads and the 80% of people who find online ads invasive.
It is an overwhelming number.
So here's the big question: If so many people are not paying attention and find this form of advertising invasive, why is it so effective? Why are we seeing such a high retention rate of subscribers to qualified email lists? Why is search engine pay-per-click growing at the pace it is? And, lastly, if it was not effective and converting to new consumers and conversations, why would anybody continue to advertise online?
I have no idea who to believe. On one hand, we see this report talking about how little people like or care about online advertising and, on the other hand, we have a healthy and growing industry that is driven, almost entirely, on conversion and metrics in near-real time.