In fact, CTRs are finally more in line with what is seen in the direct-response offline world. One-half of one percent is about what an advertiser can expect from a direct mail effort. Now that the web population is more reflective of the world at large, the kinds of things people do online and the regularity with which they do them will also mimic the offline world.Which some people would say we shouldn't settle for anyway. But it's information I find interesting.
As Jim Meskauskas continues to say:
I think we are witnessing another sign that this industry is maturing: atrophy, consolidation, and stability showing in selected metrics. And the first metric to demonstrate this stability is the click-through rate.While I've seen no number or averages for the adult industry (a tight-lipped lot), I can't imagine that overall performance is any different. At least the pattern of falling then steadying is what I've seen, and I do trust my own numbers.
Recent changes in behavioral targeting (BT) have generated stronger results. (Think of Contextual Targeting as the "more like this" in articles or Google ads, and BT as the "you might also like" at Amazon which takes in your behaviors including previous purchases.) Not surprising that it works; but also more than a bit creepy to many.
However, new information indicates that while BT and even what I'd call just plain old well-targeted ads may produce higher click-through rates, it is the advertising out of context which seems to generate the higher conversion rates.
At first this seems strange; shouldn't the best targeted ads generate the most interest? But we're talking about two dimensions here: well-targeted ads and context.
From Study: Behavioral Ads Convert Better Out of Context (Kevin Newcomb, October, 2006):
For most advertisers doing direct marketing, it makes more sense to serve behaviorally targeted ads in a different context than the behavior, such as serving ads targeting golf enthusiasts on a cooking site, he said. For behaviorally targeted ads shown in a different content category than that of the behavior, overall CTR is 108 percent higher and overall ATR is 19 percent higher than ads shown in the same category. ATR was higher in 5 of the nine segments with more than 10 million impressions.It's interesting to note just how effective this could be if adult products and services could be included in the mix. For example, ads for escorts in luxury travel articles, erotica at iVillage, etc. I'm certain this would be a great boon for the advertisers and ad revenues. But we likely won't see that day. (A child could be surfing for that million dollar yacht rental and find :eek: an escort ad!)
If an advertiser is primarily concerned with driving traffic, then behaviorally targeted ads in the same category will perform better. CTR for ads shown in the same content category as behavior is 56 percent higher than ads shown in a different category. This was true in 7 of the nine segments.
There were some segments that did not conform to these results, [Dakota] Sullivan said. For instance, the "shoppers" segment showed the highest CTR from ads on career sites and the highest ATR on female-oriented sites. "Travelers" had the highest CTR on food sites and highest ATR on career sites.
"Previous research from others indicated an across-the-board rule of thumb, but we found it varies widely by category," Sullivan said.
In fact, BT is difficult for most of us (IT Team? As if!), but targeting isn't. And we all know context. So we can at least apply this thinking to our marketing and advertisements, even if we cannot create such software. And even if we cannot afford the ad rates at sites with such behaviorally targeted ads, or simply aren't welcome there at all, we can apply this thinking to our ad purchases and design.
This means not only considering at which sites you'll find your target market, but the other advertisers (and creative) are already there.
It makes sense if you consider it this way: "When the ads appear out of context, they help set your message apart. If someone sees a Sugarshots ad next to three car ads and a movie ad, it's going to be unique," [Doug] Schumaker said. "You've got to differentiate your message in any way you can." (Via Kevin Newcomb, February, 2006.)
While it's going to be tough to be the only dildo company or adult membership site at a sex blog, perhaps your ad can look completely different. And maybe, just maybe, you can find alternative sites to welcome your 'porn' advertising dollars. If you do, you'll be the only one there ~ for a little while anyway.
Then, like everything else, the numbers will lower, and lower, 'til they settle. Maybe not quite at half a percent; but they'll be lower.
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