What's The Buzz?

Wired Digital Senior VP Rick Boyce signed in as I-Advertising’s guest moderator last week, raising the issue of click suppression.

“We hear rumblings that some advertisers plan to suppress click data on ads served via third parties,” he wrote. “The logic goes that click data is proprietary and is owned by the advertiser Is this a new trend on the horizon or merely a fad?”

Well it’s not clear. There were no takers on that one.

Declining Click Rates

Lycos’ ad product manager Brian Shepherd offered his “non-scientific” thoughts on declining click rates. He postulated that if a single ad on a page with 50 links could draw a 2 percent click-through, four ads on a page with 200 links might each draw 0.5 percent, meaning that “advertising” on that hypothetical page drew 2 percent. So click rates really haven’t gone down.

Todd Ebersviller added some thoughts of his own on the topic. Web site quality ain’t what it used to be, targeting is off, folks fear banners (and the “mom” test proves it) and (lots of) banners aren’t well designed.

Todd got dittoes from Boyce, who added that ad pros are abusing users’ trust. When he clicked on a banner at a site he declined to name, he had to download Flash, and after he did so his back button was disabled.

Solutions to the declining click rate problem in Martin Lloyd’s view, include placement, creative and follow-up. “Follow-up means making sure people don’t just click through to your front page. Take them somewhere interesting, somewhere that looks like the banner did and makes the same offer.”

Audio Advertising

Wanda Atkinson seconded Paul Bendat’s earlier rant that folks are fixed on banners and won’t run audio ads on his Internet-only radio station.

“Audio ads are three times as effective as banners alone,” she wrote, and thanks to a limited inventory, prices are likely to rise. “Can you imagine an ad vehicle on the Internet that not only works for advertisers but actually makes money for a content provider?”

A couple of responses to Wanda’s post reflected confusion between audio ads and banners with audio. They were concerned that many users either don’t have audio capability or else turn it off when they surf.

“A banner ad with audio is still a banner ad,” Wanda responded. “Every person who elects to click on their audio channel is going to listen Broadcast audio with banners to back them up are an ad delivery devise that really makes sense.”

How Not to Run a Campaign

Signing himself “frustrated and curious,” Adam Tuttle told a tale of woe about a campaign that “ran great” but wasn’t renewed. “The client was targeting a specific demographic and the agency produced creative that appealed to a completely different demo’ and we take the blame for the poor performance. Arggh!” he anguished.

Inside the velvet glove of sympathy offered by fellow members was an iron fist. “The agency behaved in an amateurish fashion,” Jeff Laurie commiserated. ” They created a campaign for themselves and not for their client.”

But he added that Adam should have objected to the misdirected creative before it ran and demanded that the agency re-do it.

“All of your comments seem to be made with hindsight,” observed Karl Zetmeir. “When you start viewing promotions with foresight and with this same clarity, then you’ll be an ad man! If you took the order, you have the responsibility to make it work. And sometimes that means saying ‘NO!'”

Online Ads — Banner Positioning

On Online Ads, Thomas Deelman reported on research that indicated left side or right side doesn’t make any difference. Graeme Levin said his bottom banners consistently perform at less than 50 percent of the top banners; ditto from Chris Bertchie and Adrian Funnell. Chris advised selling the bottom position on a cost-per-click basis. Adrian likes CMPnet’s idea of giving away the bottom position as a bonus to advertisers who take the top, which effectively cuts the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rate in half.

Word of Mouth

Andre van Gastel doesn’t think using .exe files to brand or sell is a wise idea. “We pondered the potential, when we got a hold of the coke.exe file, and decided against it when one of our fine fellows had taken ten minutes to add a few lines of DOS DISK commands and “voila,” virus enabled .exe that looks like the original piece.

“What image would be associated with the company that passed this around? I would not only cringe when I saw the red and white cans, but probably make an effort to steer my car into every Coke machine I could find!”

Rob’s $40k Idea

Rob Fisher thinks he may be on to something. Other Online Ads members don’t share his enthusiasm. Suppose he were to buy a key word category on major portals, create a generic ad for the category and point the ad to a one-page site on which a user would find multiple ads for vendors in the category? Spend $40k for the category and sell $60k (four at $15k) worth of ads to the vendors. Slick, eh?

“Why would a company pay you $15k for only the impressions from the click-through on the banner on the portal when they could pay $15k to the portal and get impressions directly?” asked Todd Baker.

It’s Spam, and it’s deceptive, wrote Thom Forbes. “When someone types ‘golf,’ (Rob’s example) she’s not looking for advertising. She’s looking for editorial content.”

“Yes, you might get a lot of traffic, yes you might be able to sell those spots, but I doubt the advertisers would really be getting what they wanted,” Jim Reardon wrote. “Only the bottom of the barrel won’t realize the site for what it is, just a bunch of junk.”

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