Article Header: Uncommon Sense

Uncommon Sense

January 30th, 2013   |  

Your ad can’t motivate anyone if they don’t see it. Obvious, right? You know what’s less obvious: someone who clicks on your ad is less likely to become a customer than someone who hovers his or her mouse over it (yes, they can track where your mouse is) or otherwise interacts with it. That’s the new research from Pretarget and comScore, and we have a few thoughts on how you can use this revelation in your ad campaign.

Studying 18 advertisers over nine months, analyzing 263 million impressions, Pretarget was able to determine a few really specific metrics that indicate conversion. Pretarget looked at hover and interaction, viewable impressions, gross impressions, and clicks, which means that they looked at the nuances of user behavior. These nuances, like how long a user lingers on a part of a page, are quickly becoming the central focus for search engine rank as well as advertising efficacy.

What Pretarget found was that those web users who hover over or interact with an ad have a higher correlation with conversion (0.49) than those who actually click an ad (0.01). Here’s what you can do to take advantage of these apparently counterintuitive findings as you create your display ads:

Be Seen

Ad space can be found all over a page. Some are at the bottom, some at the top, and many can be found along the right side. Website visitors spend 80 percent of their time “above the fold,” so you’ll want your ad to be located where people will be able to see it without scrolling.

Location is important, but an ad can get lost in the cacophony of web design. Your display ad should have great design. Make it beautiful or at least make it eye-catching. Pretarget’s findings suggest that the work of the ad is mostly done when someone takes the time to look at it, so your primary task should be catching those eyeballs. Draw them in with beautiful design and then give them the message of the ad, value statement, call to action, etc.


Interaction, in addition to hovering, is central to the high correlation with conversion, but what does it mean to interact with an ad?

Some display ads have video. Users can click to play the video in the ad without being taken to the advertiser’s page. These videos can also automatically play and users have the option to turn on the sound. Generally, it’s not a great idea to be too greedy for viewers; if your ad starts playing with full sound as soon as someone’s page loads, they’re likely going to be annoyed. Lots of people listen to music while they browse or browse in otherwise quiet environments (i.e., at work), so your ad screaming something at them will be unwelcome. Giving someone the option to click for video or sound will increase interaction and get you that much closer to a conversion.

Other forms of interaction include social media cues. Yes, even display ads can have embedded social media. I’ve seen a few ads that offer the option to “+1” them on Google+. This is another interaction you can have with an ad that doesn’t technically count as a click, because the viewer isn’t going to the advertiser’s page.

The central point here is to make your ad visible with captivating design and good on-page positioning and interactive with multimedia content, social media, or even interactive elements that make the ad itself into a game (think of Google’s interactive brand “doodles”).

If you want more advice on display ad strategy or on how to make your display ad beautiful and captivating, you know where to find us.

Posted in News, Online Marketing, Web.
Related Articles