Banner Ads Influence Search Behavior

(©Online Dating Advertising) A study by iProspect has found that banner advertising influences search behavior, making it important for online advertisers to use banner ads with search advertising and vice versa.

According to the study, the effectiveness of banner ads should be measured through search behaviour as much as by click-through rates, a survey from iProspect has found.

iProspect studied the behaviour of visitors to ad-supported sites for the research. The company found that nearly as many netizens who click on banner ads will conduct searches for brands associated with the ad, and nearly half of all audiences on an ad-supported site will eventually perform a search that is relevant to the ad they saw.

The study highlights the vital connection between display ads and search engine marketing.

“This new iProspect study goes beyond previous studies about the importance of integrating the offline and online marketing mix,” said Antony Yiu, search director for  iProspect Hong Kong. “Marketers should shed the old dotcom era mentality of using only display ads for their online campaigns and instead utilise a more synergistic approach of integrating both search and display ads to earn exponential returns on their advertising investment.”

In addition, the study  found that 31 per cent of netizens respond to display ads by clicking on them, compared to 27 per cent who respond by conducting a search for the brand, product or company.

Twenty-one per cent instead choose to type the company’s URL into their browser and nine per cent find relevant information from social media sites.

According to iProspect, a total of 52 per cent of internet users actively respond to display ads.

The study also found that 33% of respondents to an online display ad go on to purchase from a company with which they are familiar, compared to the 14% who learn about a company for the first time from a digital display ad.

1,575 American internet users were used in the study.

Editorial Note: The one thing from this study that shouldn’t go overlooked is the part about people who purchase from a company they are familiar with versus purchasing from a company they are unfamiliar with. This aspect of the study emphasizes the importance of branding. Many times, the only importance put on a banner campaign is that of “how many clicked and how many bought?” The key is, however, how well did that banner do at putting an impression of your company into the minds of readers? In this instance branding is more vital that the initial click-through or purchase rate because it is the branding that will help make your company be a “familiar” one with users, thus increasing future marketing efforts. Of course, branding requires techniques of its own to be more successful. Type in Branding in our Search feature (top right-hand sidebar) to read some good branding articles from this site and Online Dating Magazine.

Banner Ad Recall Highest Among Related Sites

(©Online Dating Advertising) A study on banner ads found that recall was highest when the banner advertising appeared on sites whose content matched the ad. For example, recall for online dating services doing banner advertising would be highest when those ads appeared on other online dating related sites, like Online Dating Magazine.

The 2009 study was conducted by Condé Nast and McPheters & Company. Specifically it found:

  • Ads running on sites with related content were 61% more likely to be recalled than ads running on sites with unrelated content.
  • Recall of ads varied by site type.
    • Social network, shopping, and food sites generated the highest recall levels (29% to 39%).
    • Search and portal sites generated the lowest recall levels.
  • There were large differences in recall by type of product advertised.

“The magnitude of the differences we found offers compelling evidence that targeting by site yields important benefits for advertisers,” says Scott McDonald, Condé Nast SVP/Research.

Drew Schutte, SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for Condé Nast Digital, adds “while we have long known that context is important for print advertisers, we welcome proof that the same is true online. These results reinforce the importance of a marketer being associated with category-specific Web sites with established brands.”

In the study, each of the 400 ads for which recall was measured was associated with the Web sites in which they appeared. Ads were segmented by whether they appeared on Web sites with related content. Recall of ads was measured among Internet users who were directed to surf the Internet at will for 30 minutes.

Research Shows Banner Ad Exposure Creates Results Beyond Clicks

(©Online Dating Advertising) Research has shown throughout the years that banner ad exposure is important to the success of services, providing benefits that go well beyond clicks.

In a study titled “An Examination of Different Explanations for the Mere Exposure Effect,” researchers found that a familiarity with the stimulus makes people more “fluent” at processing it, and that fluency makes people think they must like. it. The research also found that consumers have a high level of tolerance for repeated exposure to banner ads with little “wear-out effects”

“The mere exposure effect is the finding that repeated exposure to a stimulus, without giving people any information about it, leads to enhanced liking,” says Rohini Ahluwalia, Professor of Marketing at the Carlson School of Management in regards to his 2007 study. “That stimulus could be a variety of things, even a face, a symbol, a logo, a tune, a rhythm, or a color.”

An example for that could be recent banner ads and commercials that simply showed a 23 and picture of a plug against a green backdrop. It created curiosity and a buildup to today’s announcement(August 11, 2009) from GM that it is releasing a car next year that gets 230 miles per gallon. The buildup in curiosity with the ad exposure generated additional interest and excitement of the announcement.

Getting back to banner ads, the Exposure Effects study found that “online advertisers might be placing excessive emphasis on the click-through rates—the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of online ads. Our results suggest that even when there is no overt sign of effectiveness, such as recognition or click through, the banner ads may still impact ad liking.”

Studies have also shown that long-term exposure to a message can influence consumer actions.  But the way an ad is presented could change that. For example, consumers are turned off by pop-up ads and it generally creates a distrust with companies that use that method a lot.

Banner ad campaigns should be a vital part of any long term marketing strategy for an online dating service.  Many middle-of-the-road online dating services can’t afford the mass TV advertising that sites like and eHarmony use to build brand awareness. Yet long-term banner campaigns across multiple target market sites can help branding efforts along with long term consumer action from exposure.