Sunday, February 17, 2008

Who checks your adverts?

I listened to a couple of senior marketers from Google last week. Their themes were consistent, how the developing models behind concepts such as AdWords were changing the nature of the industry. They quoted an old marketing favourite: "I know half of my advertising is wasted," John Wanamaker famously said; "I just don't know which half."

And senior management at Google are not the only people to use that and similar quotes as a sign of the changing times. I often say it too. The work-related portions of this blog constantly suggest the identical message - modern marketing should be measurable, we should know which half works.

However, yes you should learn the results, but you may not like what what you learn. The Virtual Economics site provides an excellent summary of the potentially uncomfortable results. I won't repeat everything here.

But as I see it - in the TV advertising world, those who you would most like to target with adverts for the funky new gadgets that you are trying to sell are precisely the people who are most likely to have the PVR that lets you skim past all the ads.

And even in the new web world, where these stats are more easily measurable, for example by WebTrends or Sophus3 or a myriad of other companies, still less than 1% of visitors to a site in a month click on an ad. Easy stats. Given enough visitors, still maybe ok.

But who are these visitors? I will quote directly from the first reference to the original AOL survey that I can find: Not surprisingly, they look at sweepstakes far more than any other kind of content. Yes, these are the same people that tend to open direct mail and love to talk to telemarketers.

And three conclusions about these visitors drawn from the survey here:
  • More representative of lower income households than the average user.
  • Less educated than the average user (or from less-educated environments in the case of minors).
  • More likely to live outside of the major metro regions.
Are these the people who you most "want" to click on your banners?

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