Dumb People Click Ads

12 comments

I have a thesis that people who lack intelligence or are rather ignorant to the medium are (on average) more likely to click ads than highly intelligent people who understand the medium. Agree? Disagree?

Recently I posted about this on SEO Book, but I think it is more of a Threadwatchy topic...and would love to read your thoughts.

Comments

I think...

it's more about being less internet savvy (as opposed to plain dumb). But, yeah, I agree with you in spirit. That's why, in several industries I've worked in, MSN traffic is the most coveted. Apart from the fact that there's so little of it, it converts better - the people who use whatever is served up in front of them (i.e. MSN start page) don't need as hard a sell as more savvy people (who might use Google or something).

You should first look at

You should first look at your definition of dumb.

Because someone doesn't use the internet, it doesn't mean that he can't build the world's most efficient windmill. Or similar.

We are all dumb in a lot of areas, and there is not a single humanoid that CAN'T be dumb at something.

I think the "i'll go click on that ad more than a person who uses the internet 10 hours a week" issue you are discussing about is moreI think it's more or less related to the fact that he has no clue on what's what, and he just tries to understand everything by clicking on everything.

I learned that in usability test for a number of websites. Users that had 5 to 10 hours per week of internet browsing experience, or users who mostly didn't accesed it at all.

Agreed on the MSN traffic.

Agreed on the MSN traffic. Not really dumbness, but ignorance of what is an ad and what is not. Some MSN referrals account for CTR of up to 85% on one of my sites.

You should first look at

You should first look at your definition of dumb.

Because someone doesn't use the internet, it doesn't mean that he can't build the world's most efficient windmill. Or similar.

I wrote ignorant to the medium or dumb. I never said they were one and the same.

I never even tried to define the word dumb, so it is pretty hard for me to look at my definition of the word dumb.

85%

wow :) $$$

Maybe, maybe not

I think this is very person dependent. WRT Google, I think most people aren't even aware there are ads. They're generally blind to the right column, and either ad-blind to the top couple of results, or click on them as if they're organic results. But that's the general populace not paying attention, not neccessarily stupidity I think.

As for me, I'll happily go shopping the ads when I'm looking for something commercial. I prove the point that some folks find the ads more relevant than the serps, particularly when I'm looking to buy something. I've also introduced people to the ads (hey! I never noticed those there before!) at which point they're like me...more prone to click on the ads. But I guess I'm proving your point :).

Generally I would not agree,

Generally I would not agree, even though I used to think so. Now I'd like to think more of them as 'browsing'. Some people don't mind that they are clicking on ads, even if they know.

Link Bait

Oh Aaron, how could you! ;)

The only ads that I would say could trap the ignorant are Googles Ad Links which look like navigation, other than that, I think it's a matter of the ads actually being of interest to the viewer, whether it's ads or not, if it catches your interest, dumb as a pet rock or rocket scientist, people are likely to click.

Just like the new Yaris ads got me to stop fast forwarding my TiVo just long enough to watch the little spider get squished or the piggy bank get dissected, I find them mildly amusing.

Besides, your question begs pointing out that people have been bombarded with ads for ages in print, radio, TV and the internet since it's more public existence starting around '95, so questioning whether people are smart enough to spot an ad, regardless of the medium, since they are bombarded with ads from birth, would question the intelligence of the questioner in that he would think the rest of the population too stupid to spot an ad unless it snuck up and bit them.

BTW, I'll go as far to say that blended ads are often barely recognizable as ads which skews the results. When done well even the most net savvy type has probably clicked on at least one before they noticed the "ads by goooooogle" ominously perched on the page. That would lead more to a question "are visitors being purposely deceived to click for the bottom line" than lacking in intelligence IMO.

But do dumb people do mesothelioma searches?

Many of the high $$$ ads seem to be in verticals that seem to exclude the less savvy web searcher. So, you may get a higher CTR but a lower EPC from the lower IQ set.

imo

Smart shoppers know, through experience, that if they are looking for a product/service they will get the most relevant results from the sponsored ads.

Dumb people

... can't even SPELL mesothelioma without the help of their lawyer

More savvy?

the people who use whatever is served up in front of them (i.e. MSN start page) don't need as hard a sell as more savvy people (who might use Google or something).

Hmmm, you mean the savvy folks who have their nephews set Google as the home page, then type "Yahoo" into the search box?

Savvy folks don't click.

Whenever we see an influx of traffic from sites like Digg or Reddit, our CPM for PPC ads drops to almost nothing. Hardened web users are likely blind to common ad formats. I don't know if that makes them smart, but they're definitely less click happy.

-Ed

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