September 14, 2007

Two In A Thousand

In "Legends of Interactivity, Part 2" we saw that the click through rate on a typical banner ad is under 2 in a thousand.

The question is, why is the level of interactivity so alarmingly low on display ads?

We understand why response rates are low in traditional direct response media -- you have to cut out a coupon or tear out a card; fill in your name and address; take it to a mailbox, etc. It's a pain in the ass. But in banner ads, all you have to do is move your finger. And yet, even with such a low threshold for interactivity, almost no one interacts.

I can think of only two possible explanations:

1. We trained ourselves very early on to ignore banner ads. Banner ads used to exist mainly in the upper third of a web page and it didn't take us long to figure out what our eyes could profitably avoid.

2. The people creating banner ads are particularly incompetent.

I think it's a lot of #1 and a little of #2.

On-line display ads are just too easy to ignore. They are small, annoying, generally ugly, and slow us down. And the people creating them are using what is essentially a direct response medium without understanding the principles of direct response.

What do you think?


No comments: