In my previous two blog posts I’ve discussed the convenience and advantages of some online and social platforms. This time I would like to share with you the results of a research conducted by Google. The topic of this research concerns the visibility of the many Google Display banners out there, and the results are shocking!
But before we rush to the end, let’s start at the beginning. In the world of Online marketing, who doesn’t know Google? As an online marketing manager you may have some experience with the many tools this platform has to offer. Nonetheless, let’s look at what display banners exactly entails and what advantages it beholds.
Display Banners are graphical advertising on the World Wide Web
These banners appear next to the content on webpages, IM applications, Email and more. We often refer to these ads as banners, they come in standard ad sizes and can include text, logos, pictures, or more recently rich media. The use of display banners have to advantages over magazines and billboards. You get more targeting options online, such as demographic and behavioural targeting. With these options you can really laser in on your audience. More you can track the performance of your campaign daily in order to measure metrics, such as impressions, clicks and conversions to calculate your ROI.
Now that we understand the meaning, what does the research really mean?
Over half of the online display advertisements is not visible for consumers.
This new research showed what has already been whispered in the hallways. It stated that 56.1% of all advertisements on Google will never be seen. A result that is very alarming to many companies who use Google Ads as a tool. How could this have happened, you may ask? There are several causes that can answer that question.
According to Google, the main problem concerns the placement of the advertisments. The vertically placed ads are in general well viewed, however this can not be said about the horizontally displayed ads, the ones who appear at the top of the search list. Because of the small space remaining, not all ads are being shown, these ads will appear in a different tab or on a different page.
Besides the poor visibility of the ad, many companies also pay for an online banner impression, which unfortuantely will never been seen by anyone, or it will be shown but then in another tab. Recent research conducted by comScore, has told us that this indeed is the case in nearly half of all banner impressions.
For another cause of this problem, we need to take a look at the official organisation IAB. This Branch-organisation is responsible for the online advertisements and content. It is also the organisation where all the rules, definitions and guidelines originate from. This organisation used to list an advertisement as visible when 50% of the ad will be shown for at least 1 second ( depending on the size). For Video-ads there is a duration necessary of 2 seconds.
* A small note on this research and the results is that its main focus was on static advertisements on Google. Later on, they plan to focus on video and smartphone.
What has changed?
The poor visibility or viewability of these online advertisements have long been the topic of much conversations in the field and finally it gained the international attention it deserves. Ever since October, the Dutch IAB accepts and acts accordingly to the international standard of viewability. This means that the online banner, for which many organisations pay, must be visible, even when its at the bottom of the page or when shown in another tab. Back in the day it used to be all about the no. of clicks your ad received. However today, many marketing managers know and understand that visibility is just as important. People may see an ad on Google about a certain shampoo brand and hardly pay any attention to it. Nonetheless they have been exposed to the ad, and may buy this specific brand or product when visiting the drugstore. This shows us the importance of both clicks and viewability.
Besides a change is rules, Google still states that the main problem lies in the position. Place matters! Google’s research has also showed us that even though not all ads are visible at the top, the most viewed ad is still up there. What is surprising is that it isn’t all the way at the top, instead it is the last one, before the actual search results are listed. Again, this is not the place where your ad is most viewable, but it is the place your ad is most likely to be noticed by viewers. These results are supported by the graph below.
Another aspect that seemed to be important is the size of your ad. Graphics below show that, as mentioned above, the vertical ads have the highest viewability rates, this because they stay on the page when scrolling down.
The last tip Google gives us concerns the viewability across different content verticals. Here below, one can see that reference, online communities and games have far higher viewability rates than food and drink, news and real estate. With the information Google hopes to give marketing managers enough information to fully understand Google Ads.
Nonetheless I think we should also learn from another company, who tried a different tactic. Kellogg’s was one of the first companies to start their own, independent trackings. They started this initiative after disappointing results on their online advertisements. Surprisingly, their research showed that even the slightest improvements in visibility could result in conversion. This truly was a major step in the right direction for the company, and it definitely supports the importance of the matter.
A look into the future
Now that we and Google are aware of this problem, Google has promised to improve their criteria and systems for the future. All this to assure us that our ads will work on Google. And, for someone who believes in second changes, I still have faith in this amazing tool.
Nonetheless, we should keep our eyes open. There is no rule in this business that states you have to agree with everything Google does or say. Stay on top of it, speak your mind, and track your visibility yourself. As with everything in the world of Marketing, you track your actions, you evaluate, and improve where necessary. This way, you know for sure, that your target audience will see your ad and find your website!
Here are some other options, Google offers. I’m talking about Google ads.
Who are you, Google Ads?
First up is Google Adsense. Google Adsense is basically a tool to make easy money. You create room on your website, and via Google others can bid for that specific space. As a website owner this ensures you of an consistent payment, and enables you to maintain a certain control over the adspace on your website, because even after the bidding you still decide who, what and how. This tool is very useful for starter companies to make their online businesses blossom.
However one could say the more important function is Google Adwords.
Google Adwords is the function which enables you to create your own adverts, which will be visible on Google. It ensures you that when potential customers are looking for products or services, which you offer, that they will find your website at the top of the search list. Obviously, for this service you will pay a certain amount for every click, visit of phone call made via this online advertisement.
A huge advantage of Google Ads is their measurability possibility. Once your advertisement is online you can track the data. How many people have been exposed to your advert? What percentage has clicked on the ad? Who was directed to your website? With the tracking tools that Google provides you can even find the actual sales generated with your online advertisement. Google will send you monthly overviews, however you can also login with your google account to see how your advertisements are doing. Also very important is the flexibility of this platform. When you’ve gained enough data and/or reached your goals, you can pause, start, stop or redesign your advert. Making it possible to test several advertisements online, in order to see which one works best, and generates most traffic.
Be found at the right time and place!
Google adwords makes it possible to advertise on both a local and global level. This tool offers you several options in order to target your ad as specific as possible. The options include customers is specific countries, areas, places or within a certain distance of your company or store. By means of keywords you can decide for which searches you want people to find you, and when you don’t want them to find your company. This again will assure you, that you will reach the right type of customers.
No matter what type of device your customers use, they will be exposed to your advertisement. Today, when everybody is using multiple devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablets. Google Adwords will promise you, everyone will see your advertisement.
I hope this article has learned you all something about the side-effect of Google’s viewability level. Next week, I will go deeper into CPC, and what to watch when using this method.