Ad click-through rate lower than previously thought

Feb 25, 2009

The rate of ad clicks from sponsored and non-sponsored links was reported in a recent study conducted by researchers from Penn State and the Queensland University of Technology.

Jim Jansen, assistant professor of information science and technology, Penn State, along with Amanda Spink, professor of information technology, Queensland University of Technology, studied the rate of ad clicks through on Dogpile.com, a meta-search engine that combines the search results from larger search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, Ask and MSN.

Jansen examined more than seven million interactions from hundreds of thousands of users to analyze the click-through patterns on both sponsored and non-sponsored links. Specifically studying the rate of clicks where the sponsored and non-sponsored ads are presented together, Jansen was investigating what effect this had on consumer behavior.

"I was expecting that an integrated list of sponsored and non-sponsored ads would have a higher click through on the sponsored ads," Jansen said. When the click-through rate turned out to be only 15 percent, Jansen was astounded.

The findings also showed that for more than 35 percent of queries, there were no clicks on any result.

"I wasn't hoping for anything," Jansen said. "I expected a big increase and when that didn't happen, I was surprised." Jansen's research also gives new insight into the behavior of Web consumers.

"The result seems to show that Web searchers are smart," Jansen said. "They have a good idea what Web ads are and how to distinguish them from other links."

Findings from the study, which was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, question the validity of other reports stating that ad click through rates are around the 30 percent mark. It also suggests that most consumers are distrustful of the ads. However, the findings provide a benefit to advertisers.

"It opens the door to other forms of keyword advertising," Jansen said. "More research can be done on effective advertising, and search engine companies can improve ad mechanisms."

One challenge Jansen and Spink faced in this project was analyzing through the data.

"There were more than seven million records of user interactions" Jansen said. "That's a fairly large amount of data, and it took some time to go through them, even using automated methods."

Other challenges include the fact that Dogpile may not be representative of web search engine users in general.

Jansen hopes to use the results to further examine the ways to leverage and monetize web searching. He believes that there is a light at the end of the advertising tunnel.

"There is a potential for growth…if they (Web search users) can overcome the trust issues," he said. "It's just something that the search engine companies will have to work to overcome."

Source: Penn State

Explore further: Twitpic to stay alive with new owner

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stolen photos of stars find 'safe harbor' online

Sep 04, 2014

Imagine what the Internet would be like if most major websites had imposed controls preventing the naked photos stolen from Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities from being posted ...

Chinese e-commerce rivals challenge Alibaba (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

China's biggest property developer, Wanda Group, and Internet giants Baidu and Tencent unveiled a new e-commerce venture Friday in a challenge to industry leader Alibaba Group ahead of its U.S. stock offering.

New tool makes online personal data more transparent

Aug 18, 2014

The web can be an opaque black box: it leverages our personal information without our knowledge or control. When, for instance, a user sees an ad about depression online, she may not realize that she is seeing it because ...

Texas company helps energy giants keep track of equipment

Aug 14, 2014

Keeping track of billions of dollars of equipment that's constantly on the move is one of the oil and gas industry's toughest challenges. Time is always money. But it's a fortune when it's downtime in the oilfield or offshore.

Recommended for you

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

Sep 17, 2014

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

Sep 17, 2014

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

earls
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2009
The ads are pure garbage.

"distrustful of the ads"

Oh, you don't say?! When even Google is "shaping" ads to mimic typical web links to fool users into clicking on what appear to be "web results" that 90% of the time lead to MORE ADVERTISEMENTS why would ANYONE consider clicking anything that even remotely looked like an ad?

And just like I said above, the ads rarely even go to the product or service they're advertising, you usually wind up in an affiliate marketing circle jerk with them making money off of your click confusion.

Whatever, anyone with half a brain already uses Adblock Plus to take back the web.
Dhanne
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2009
There is only one clear solution for web adds:
https://addons.mo...don/1865