I'd guess not very often. The click-through-rate for banner ads is 0.2%. So which ads are people responding to online? And why?
In-Stream is More In Tune With Customers
In all the discussions over 'old-fashioned' marketing tools vs social media marketing, the integrated advertisement trend doesn't get mentioned much. By integrated ads, I mean the ones that only pop up when you hover over a link within the online article text you are reading. For example, if the words 'social media marketing' (above) were highlighted, an ad for an agency's services could pop up. This type of marketing is clever for two reasons.
As Mark Suster points out in his blog, Both Sides of the Table, most online advertising results go unmeasured. But with integrated ads, advertisers can measure how many people hover over their in-stream links. Vibrant Media, an American agency, reports a better CTR for integrated ads over banners of up to 50%. The fact these ads are in-stream (where readers look) is important.
Because whereas banner ads sit above or around the area where readers are actually looking, in-stream ads are placed where the attention already is. They are not fighting with more interesting material. They are placed within text or images that potential customers are already interested in (after all, they are reading/looking at it). And here's where the link to print inserts comes in.
Wait, What's That?
Drayton Bird says that magazine and newspaper inserts get higher response rates than ads for the same product within the publication itself. Why? Because they fall out and grab a reader's attention. Because they are slotted into a publication that the reader already has interest in. Yet they do not interrupt the flow of reading - they are not an irritating advertisement page cutting up the article.
So, to sum up, integrated online advertising and marketing are successful for the same reasons that good 'traditional' advertising is successful:
- Placement - targeted at users who already have potential interest in the product/service
- Measurable - the choice to view the ad lies with the target. Therefore different goals can be measured: hovers, website visits, coupon returns, purchases
- Information element - location and structure makes the target feel less 'sold'. Integrated ads make use of the value of informative content.
What do you think of integrated ads? How do you find the actual ads that pop up when you hover? Have you bought anything via integrated, or in-stream, ad leads?