Increasing traffic or targeting on your site isn't necessarily going to bring in more more clicks on banner ads. A new study supports that where ads are on a page and when they're delivered is key to campaign performance.
The research by advertising platform Casale Media
looked at how attributes like page positioning, the order in which ads are viewed, and the frequency ads are delivered can affect click-throughs and other actions taken. The study analyzed a random sample of almost two billion impressions generated during the first quarter through its ad serving technology. The impressions were from performance-based campaigns running Flash
-based creative that clicked through to one-step actions (such as newsletter sign-ups).
Media companies can use this data to inform how they design a page and produce content in order to bring in more valuable ad impressions. Here are some key takeaways.
Above the fold wins
The analysis confirms general knowledge about ad placement. For instance, ads “above the fold” (or when scrolling is not required) are almost seven times more effective at generating a click than ads delivered below the fold, as illustrated in this chart:
First impressions matter
Banner blindness is a real affliction: Ads are much more effective at actually getting a user's attention at the beginning of a browser session and lose their punch as a user sees more and more ads.
Specifically, the research found that click-throughs and action rates decreased substantially as users browse online. Ads in the third to sixth position are clicked on almost three times less than ads in the first and second position. Obviously ads shown first are viewed more, but the difference in impressions doesn't fully account for the difference in actions.
Repetition gets results
Ads shown over and over again actually do work, according to the study. Click
and action rates increase dramatically for ads viewed five or more times, compared to ads viewed less than four times (as illustrated below). But, as the study points out, media companies should still cap the frequency at some point, as ads shown too much begin to lose effect.
What it means for media companies
The report sums up the findings well: “Without delivery above-the-fold, early session placement and frequency optimization, campaign performance will suffer.”
So, some engaging content might not help ad performance. For instance, if a new ad is refreshed over and over again while a user is clicking through a slideshow, the ads shown in the third and fourth position don't have as much impact. But ads repeated to the right frequency could perform well. It's another reminder that more eyeballs alone doesn't necessarily translate to more click-throughs.