Searching Beyond the Paid

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who's Paying Attention to PPC Ads?

I'm irritated. It's 7:30 p.m., and I've been at my computer for the past 11 hours (not non-stop, but it feels that way). While reading one of the many online newsletters that comes to my inbox, I ran across this headline at WebProNews: "Nearly 90% Don't Pay Attention to PPC Ads."

OK, you've got my attention.

Intrigued, I clicked over to the Ad Age report cited in the post. Great stuff, by the way - tons of stats on the state of the search industry, lots of interesting info. But I couldn't for the life of me find the 90% stat in all 27 pages of the report.

So I went back to the original WPN post, and upon a third re-read, I figured it out. Click through rate on PPC ads reported in the Ad Age study was 11.5%, meaning that 88.5% of people DON'T click on an ad. 88.5% is almost 90% - thus, the headline.

So, I'm partly irritated at myself for not reading more carefully in the first place - I should have seen that the first time! But, it's still an overly-sensational link-bait-y headline. Since when does clicking on an ad equate to paying attention to it?? Just because you didn't click doesn't mean you didn't see and take interest in the ad! And furthermore, an 11.5% CTR is pretty impressive, if you ask me. What's the average email open rate these days? What percent of direct mail actually gets opened? What percent of TV ads actually get noticed by the average viewer???

I could go on, but you get the point. PPC advertising works, folks. If I'm able to get almost 12% of searchers to actually click on MY ad after looking at all the other ads, plus the SERPs, plus the Google Universal stuff that's on the page.... well, I think that's pretty darn commendable.



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