Its Hard to Get Savvy People to Click Dumb Ads

28 comments

Smart people do not have a high CTR. How might that matter to search engines: in how they would format ads, segregate organic search results, filter search ads, syndicate contextual ads, what sites they allow to vote, what topics they can vote for, what users they allow to vote, what constitutes a vote, and how much each vote matters?

As more marketers create marketing messages that cater to bias, ignorance, and mob mentality, how might that change search relevancy algorithms?

Comments

smart people

There's smart people and then there are people who are "online smart people": dumb people who generally have online "smarts".

I would consider my mother very smart--former teacher who has "book smarts". But put her online and she'll most likely click on one of those "dumb ads" only because she hasn't "aged" yet online.

Then there's the person who has been online and know what an online marketing message looks like because they've been online for a while. That doesn't make them smart, though.

I think that online marketing messages get old or "age" after a while and those people who are online become smart to the marketing messages, it's not the people becoming smarter.

Be it an AdSense ad or a banner ad, an interstitial, or even a fake chat bot chatting with people and telling them about a website or a product...the online community gets "smart" over time and us marketers have to find another way to market whatever we're pitching this week.

If these are the stories we get

....instead of bad linkbait and overdone self promo, give me back the bad linkbait and overdone self promo.

C'mon Aaron. Everybody here, yourself included, deserves to waste their time reading better quality stuff than crap like this.

The low down is wheel..

.. most people don't have a fucking clue.

Search ads are generally okay, content ads - pretty much any moron will click'em at the right time.

by click ads I meant "vote"

  • by click ads I meant "vote" (which could also mean link / share / cite / source / syndicate / believe in)
  • and by ads I meant "content"

The point is that relevancy can either be determined by allowing the tech savvy to have a big say in what is relevant, or by relying more on mob rule votes system driven by emotional gaming. Which is more relevant?

The other point is that people who cater to the uninformed generally create easier profits than people selling to the informed. If advertisements drive most web content what type of web does that create?

How might marketing (and relevancy algorithms) change over time when everyone and their dog is doing link bait?

one man's crap is another man's manure...and everybody has got to eat.

History has been filled with "linkbait"

Content, attention, publicity... all of these things have existed long before search algorithms.

All of network television is "linkbait," as is all of Hollywood, pretty much all big publishing, and all of the mainstream music industry. Lots of crap certainly, and yet I bet you can still point to examples in each medium that qualify as content smart people pay attention to. The current media critical establishment is filled with smart people calling out the crap and praising the "art," and yet people still line up to see "Norbit" in droves.

Same as it ever was.

Success of adwords/adsense?

Let's say savvy user instead of smart, that might a slightly clearer explanation of the effect here (experience online means less clicks on "dumb" ads). Adwords/adsense could be seen as a beneficiary of this -- the little textual classified approach vs. the big flashing 468x60 at the top of the page can actually pull better, in part because savvy users know never to look at the banner, but that sometimes there might be something useful in those little text ads.

Or maybe not. I haven't seen anything about adsense fatigue, but it's got to set in after a while ... right?

There's smart people and

There's smart people and then there are people who are "online smart people"

I completely agree with Bill here. I STILL talk to people who say: "my friend bought the top spot in google for his Organic Toaster business." And they don't realize that some search results are paid and some are not. They aren't dumb, just not observant or don't care. Why should a user care if a listing is paid or not as long as it exactly matches what they want?

people who cater to the uninformed generally create easier profits than people selling to the informed.

I think this depends. In general "the informed" have more money and buy more things, but are more discerning. They are probably also more likely to do more research before buying.

If an uninformed person is looking for a get rich quick scheme, they will find many people who will happily sell it to them.

updated title

savvy is better for what i wanted to say. thanks Rich :)

My wife

thanks you for changing the title.

Some people read a newspaper

Some people read a newspaper to get the news...I never notice any of the department store ads since that's not what I'm looking for.

Other people read the newspapers to see the ads...they are shoppers looking for sales, etc.

I think the same medium caters to different classes of users.

'Smart' people will still

'Smart' people stil need to buy stuff and will still buy stuff from those long 'still buy at 3.00am' pages - just needs to be selling something they want.

I think they would they buy more from a more detailed product review page though.

Question is, will 'personalised search' gauge our online intelligence and cynicism enough to filter out the crap and feed us the ads and content that match our 'Smarts'.

I do not do like money from

I do not do like money from ads. I prefer to go straight to an aff page and get a decent return.

Then there's my wife

Then there's my wife who goes straight to the PPC ads and never clicks on organic results. She says that she finds exactly what she needs when she's shopping online. If they're willing to pay for an ad, then they're going to present you with something that resembles what you were looking for.

She also knows that there are people out there that "manipulate" the organic results from time to time. ;)

Dumb Advertisers

Then there are the dumb advertisers. Just check out all the advertisers who are bidding on the word "keyword". this one is funny too.

You know that those people just copied and pasted a list of keywords into Google AdWords and forgot to take out the top one on their list, the word "keyword".

Bill says it best

It's a grand old assumption, IMO, that internet savvy consumers are the ones that matter most of define where search is going. Like Bill, my wife has become utterly, utterly, used to finding what she needs through Google, and over 75% of the time, through the text ads (usually position 1-2, and sometimes positions 3-5).

It's also worth noting that, as in the offline world, women still account for a strong majority of spending, so what you and I do is not really important - but what Bill's and my wife do is.

Vogue

Other people read the newspapers to see the ads...

Will advertising on the web finally be succesful when folks go to sites specifically to see the ads, ala buying a phone book size copy of Vogue magazine?

'Keyword'

result #4 is imponderable.....

"Strapless Bra at La Senza"

..

I have read so many studies about why people click on adds that I am sick of them.

After years I have come to the conclusion that people window shop when looking at adds(banners) and click to buy on text links in general.

With gambling adds (I think its safe to let this cat out of the bag now) I found over time that the best conversions (Whales) came from long text links on a page that had both graphic banners and text content and text links (I think you can argue that most online gamblers are somewhat savvy about the web in general.)

Women and online shopping

It must be due to having that shopping gene! Thank God my wife wasn't born with that one. The world as a whole is becoming far more savy and marketers will be forever trying to find ways to reach anyone they can whether they are smart or not. It just part part of the continual evolution of the web and the world community as a whole.

Ads

I think you just have to look at what the Internet is used for. If I had to guess I'd say the order would be something like:

1.Email (everyone)
2.Entertainment (the teen/myspace/forum crowd)
3.Research (telephone/map/address)
4.News (homepage portals)
5.Shopping

So..when you look at it that way you realize why ads aren't clicked on. The only way you're going to sell something is if someone is looking for it. Throwing crappy adsence ads next to subjects people are researching is downright offensive. If you match the ads to the content you have a far greater shot. But..it's still not the sweet spot. The sweet spot is "Canon Powershot A520" in the organics.

The other dirty little secret of the Internet is that the majority of the niche markets are actually very small.

That old IBM ad where the group is standing around their company website and the sales ticker starts spinning like an out of control racehorse..that ad, did more damage to the perception of websites than anything else out there. It gave many people the fear of going online because it would be something they couldn't handle, and inversely it created many dissatisfied companies with grossly unrealistic expectations.

flyboy, isn't that the truth ...

That old IBM ad where the group is standing around their company website and the sales ticker starts spinning like an out of control racehorse..that ad, did more damage to the perception of websites than anything else out there. It gave many people the fear of going online because it would be something they couldn't handle, and inversely it created many dissatisfied companies with grossly unrealistic expectations.

I remember that from around ... 1997? A group of people gathered around a guy seated at a monitor. He presses a button to launch the site. A couple of seconds pass, and a "1" appears on the screen ... then a "2" then a "3" ... and then the counter takes off like crazy. The concept was that these were sales coming in within seconds of the site launch. As if anyone could find the site, locate an item to purchase, then fill out the shopping cart form in seconds. As if this was at all possible.

Yes, it gave people unrealistic ideas. Some thing the 'Net is bogus; others think (as you said) that they'll get far too many sales. Geez.

possible

Quote:
The concept was that these were sales coming in within seconds of the site launch...As if this was at all possible.

It's "sort of" possible now, with PPC. If one had a budget they could theoretically turn on a PPC campaign and see the floodgates of traffic and sales start...not necessarily seconds, but could be within minutes (or with an hour).

The key would be budget and a lot of other factors, but it might be possible.

Sort of, that's true

But then, you'd have to be in a niche that people were searching for, and would have to have your PPC all set up so that it was available to searchers within moments of site launch ... and they'd have to navigate your site, locate a product they wanted, make a snap decision, and type awfully fast.

Still, I take your point, Bill. I was just explaining the rather impossible scenario presented in the commercial (advertisement).

Usability in the Movies

Back in December Jakob Nielsen posted some related observations about how unrealistically the movies portray computers and computer usage.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/film-ui-bloopers.html

..

There a HUGE number of gigantic misconceptions about the www and marketing in the world today.

I used to get a laugh out of that internet toolbox infomercial that promised earnings of $15,000+ a month "with only a few minutes work a day on your "free" website".

I used to get a laugh out of it, but I don't laugh about it anymore. I read a while back that the folks behind that toolbox infomercial made (to date) over 88 Million USD on that particular national campaign. Their overhead was so low it was almost all profit...

Genius or Scumbag... I guess its all in how you look at it.

my neighbor

Quote:
the folks behind that toolbox infomercial

My neighbor (67 years old, in bad health, doesn't have computer yet, on social security) almost 'fell' for a similar 'scheme'. She received a flyer in the mail telling her she qualified for a "free lunch" at a local restaurant. She attended and was pitched some 'scheme' whereas she buys a $2700 website (a template) and instantly starts making money selling stuff on eBay. This 'company' is handles all the drop-shipping for her and has a list of products for her to sell on eBay and through her "web page" that she pays $2700 for. Luckily she remembered that I "did something" on the internet and asked me whether it was a 'good deal' or not.

These 'schemes', disguised as infomercials, have been around for years and it's a shame that the "schemers" have gotten into the "internet marketing" business. First it was 'get rich quick' in flipipng real estate (oops they're still pitching that) and then it was "buy a Ferrari from the govt for $45" and now it's 'sell on eBay' or 'sell the world's greatest pill' on the internet.

..

@ bill

I know how you feel. But, like the famous quote goes; "There is a sucker born every minute."

Only there are a hell of a lot more people in the world today than when that quote was first made, so now it is more like a couple of 'suckers' are born every second.

Some thing the 'Net is

Quote:
Some thing the 'Net is bogus; others think (as you said) that they'll get far too many sales. Geez.

Probably anyone whose ever bought me a beer has heard stories about some of the people I have worked for/with. "When you build the website, make sure you don't put any phone numbers or addresses. If you have to, put the switchboard number so they can handle any calls"... and that was a book author and speaker. Why not send inquiries to the press or PR agent? "That would probably cost money...."

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