Clicks Come With First Exposures to Ads

Inventory is not created equal, according to research conducted by ad network Tribal Fusion. Ninety-one percent of clicks occur within the first five pages to which a person is exposed.

“The first thing we saw was from the first page to the second, there’s a 40 percent drop-off,” said Tribal Fusion VP of strategic marketing Alistair Goodman. “The curve held pretty constant across all the sites we were looking at.”

The findings come from visits to 750 sites on the Tribal Fusion network, and views of 600 campaigns in June of 2005. The scope of the study involved 2.9 billion impressions.

Tribal’s research reinforces findings from aQuantive’s Atlas Institute. Though clicks dropped off 40 percent from the first page view to the second, in Tribal’s study, page views four through 13 maintain a consistent level of clicks. The largest drop takes place after 20 page views.

The researchers laid out two case studies as part of the research, each of which shows examples of the behavior. A MySpace.com-like site targeted toward users aged 12 to 17 observed as many as 50 individual visits from single users throughout the day. For this group, early session exposure is over three times more likely to acquire clicks than page views that occur later.

“It was the first ten impressions that were the most powerful,” said Goodman. “The same story was pretty much true for conversions.”

A consumer electronics review site mirrored the Generation Y site patterns, but with higher response rates across the board. The latter site did exhibit a slightly elevated response rate after more impressions. Researchers attributed this to the very detailed product page deeper in the site, upon which contextually relevant ads appear.

Tribal conducted the research to combat the attitude that media buys on a marquee site or a property with a name rank higher than the quality of inventory.

“At the end of the day, we want our publishers to achieve the highest eCPM possible, and our advertisers to run successful campaigns,” said Goodman. “If Tribal Fusion can not monetize a publisher’s inventory, they can turn to other media partners that may provide them with additional revenue opportunities.”

Tribal’s takeaway is that clients should be selective about inventory. “All impressions are certainly not created equal,” said Goodman. “We tell our clients to beware of remnant inventory. The later your message is seen, the less likely a user is to respond.”

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