The early promise of online marketing was that everything is highly measurable... down to the clicks and transactions that follow the ads, but what happens when the clicks run dry?
We're about to find out - exactly - what happens when the clicks run dry. "The number of online Americans who click on display ads has dropped by 50% since 2007 - and now stands at only 16% of all US internet users," says the news item, Display-Ad Clickers Nosedive 50%, from MarketingVox on October 6th, 2009. The new items is based on a report titled, Natural Born Clickers, from comScore, Inc. and Starcom MediaVest. It gets a little worse than the realization that only 16% of all Internet users click on banners ads, the report also states that it's actually 8% of all Internet users that account for over 85% of all clicks as well.
Don't act shocked.
Once the clicks started drying up several years ago, the conversation had already shifted to new ways to measure online advertising efficacy. The most obvious metric was the branding effect. From that, we started seeing the proliferation of more big-box banner ads or one brand taking over all multiple-media placements on a page (this also did a great job of killing what was a confusing webpage for most consumers, where different brands with different banner ad sizes would clutter and try to out-blink one another). Additional new strategies have developed over the years as well, including rich media banners that allow consumers to engage with a brand without ever leaving the page they landed on. There were also full-on take-overs and much more.
Basically, we're trying a lot of stuff, but the results are still very "traditional."
And, that's probably the rub for brands and agencies with clicks, display ads, etc... In the end, it's nothing new (really). Even if you're running ads or letting consumers play games in-banner, it's not all that original, and the net result is that you want them to click on something to either buy or give up some personal information. It's also not that Social Media Marketing is so different and that makes it worth pursuing over traditional online advertising, it's more a function of what the traditional advertising metrics bring to the brand table: through repetition and having your brand highlighted on a space that your consumers frequent, perhaps they will link whatever it is that you're selling more clearly to you... and give you the business.
Maybe, the clicks never really mattered in the first place?