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Do display banners actually “display” to anyone?

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A common question that clients have about placing digital advertising is the question of is anyone actually going to see their display banner.  Of course, the same can be asked about radio, television, outdoor, print and direct mail, but clients are a little more cautious about display advertising at times.

To help answer that question, several media outlets, including The New York Times, have reported that Google will announce a new web analysis tool that will offer more insights regarding ad performance and will even go as far as to report if the ad is actually seen by the visitor to the site, even if it is not clicked on.

My hope is that this will help advertisers understand that we should not expect such incredibly high engagement rates on display banners, such as 80%.  I believe that first time digital advertisers tend to look at performance reports and be very disappointment by CTRs that are 0.9% or even 2%, which as you and I know are actually very good.

I think advertisers then go on to believe that users are not engaging with their message because the CTR is not near 100%.  If we think about those statistics more closely, we realize that the action of clicking really just means that user wants to learn more about the offer.  It’s the same action that someone would take if they picked up the phone to call about a special they heard on the radio or visited a website after viewing a billboard, however the click is simply tied directly to an impression.

While I don’t anticipate Google’s new measurement tool to calm the worries of all the skeptics, I do hope that this opens another avenue that will showcase that digital advertising is a viable medium for advertising messages.

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