Display Advertising exploded in 2010!

This fall IAB Canada held its annual MIXX event in Toronto (Sept.30th) and Montreal (Oct.5th). This is the first in a three part blog series to relate to you what was brought forth during the event as new learning.

See part one of this post here.

Online ad spend in Canada now at 1.8$ billion in 2009, which is 200$ million below daily newspapers and 1.3$ billion behind television, but 400$ million ahead of radio. In 2010 it is estimated online with reach 2.1$ billion which should place it above daily newspapers nationally, even if they should remain stable although they are expected to dip some more.

The great news out of the 2010 Publisher Study on ad spend online is the share of display advertising is bouncing back. It had waned a bit in the past 2-3 years while search and directories had scored bigger growth than did display. 2009 however showed stronger growth for display. While not the richest of the 3 principal categories, it is the one that finances the most websites and employees across the country while much less people work for the less numerous websites operating in the search and directories / classifieds categories.

So, what’s feeding this comeback in display advertising?

Most advertisers, media sales representatives and agency specialists have now understood that the infamous click through isn’t a measure of success. I’ve written previously about its irrelevance and a proposal to make it mean something so I won’t repeat myself. However, recent numbers speak for themselves: in 2009 in the US, 84% of Internet users never (or almost never) click on online ads. 85% of the remaining 16% – those who click – are heavy clickers while 15% are light clickers. What this means is only 13.6% of Internet users click regularly on online advertising (Studies by DoubleClick & Atlas both confirm).

Who are these clickers? They are predominantly women 25-34 years old of moderate household income. Plus they spend little in terms of actual dollars spent online. Who are they? They are contest seekers, window shoppers and job hunters for the most part. Are they really why many marketers are adamant about getting a better clickthrough? I cannot believe you will care about clickthroughs after reading this and the other two posts mentioned above.

But really, they don’t have to click for the online ad to work its magic. Exactly like TV, radio, out of home, magazine and newspaper ads aren’t measured in “clicks” Internet shouldn’t be either. They all, like the Web, show an audience a message, an opportunity, an offer which they will pay attention to or not depending on its relevance to them in general and their status in that audience’s purchase cycle in particular. If the user pays attention to the ad for whatever reason, they will “store” that tid bit of information in their mind and use it when it becomes necessary, useful or relevant to do so.

I.E. a sofa on sale is of no use to me if mine is still in good condition. It is of some interest if I’m getting tired of my old sofa; however I probably won’t go further with this if I haven’t decided to change it yet. If I have committed myself to changing my old sofa, then yes, I will pay more attention to the ad and probably visit their website or store in the near future when it is convenient for me to do so, which most likely is not now at this very instant – because I visited this particular site to read or view something which I intend on completing.  The convenient time could be minutes later. It will more than likely be this or an upcoming weekend (i.e. this is “normal human behaviour” whereas clicking is not.).

Post impression analysis now takes on much more importance than it did before. The post impression is measuring activity intended by the ad after it has been seen – regardless if it has been clicked or not.  Depending on the ad placement strategy executed, post-impression activity on a client site in the 4 following weeks can increase by 50 to 625%. Moreover, users will also in similar proportions search your brand on search engines after seeing an ad without clicking on it.

However, should you really wish to run a campaign based on clicks, you’ll need to buy it on a CPC basis and let your media vendor optimise the campaign for you. Obligating them to respect too many parameters will more than likely have a negative effect on your campaign’s performance. Adservers are now equipped with tools and algorithms that optimise campaign creative as the campaign progresses which will give you in the end the best possible click through given the creative used and sites selected. Further, IAB is about to publish CPC campaign best practices – watch for it on www.iabcanada.com.


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