| 12:22 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I'd be skeptical of any "scientific study" of why people click on contextual ads, because there are so many variables such as:
- The audience and why it's visiting a site
- The medium (SERP or content site?)
- The nature of the ad (is it targeted by keyword or by category, for example?)
- What the ads looks like and how they're positioned (e.g., whether they appear to be content or ads)
A study would have to be very narrow to have any validity at all. For example, it would be a lot easier to get accurate results with a study of ads on Google SERPs (where ad formats and placement are uniform, and users are looking for search results) than on "content sites" (where ad formats, placement, and audience are all over the place).
| 12:29 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
People click ads because they are interested in ads.
Ads bring value to consumers.
Contextual ads bring quality.
What would you rather take:
1. Search internet for hours to find a decent real estate website
2. Click on sponsored search result to visit high quality real estate website right away.
This one is no brainer
| 1:07 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The data to figure out the user behaviour are in Google and other major search engines.
However since the search engines determine the add format and earns the money it is in their interest to keep the research results secret for the competitors and it means actually for all except themselves.
| 2:03 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Isn't it odd that a business model as significant to the evolution of doing business as PPC contextually responsive text advertising has not been subjected to numerous detailed studies and in depth behavioral analysis?
Isn't it odd that the outcome of such studies - and I mean multiple behavioral studies - isn't publicly available?
What are the colleges and universities up to?
EFV, I have to disagree. I'd say any behavior can be studied. It's all about controls, feedback mechanisms and the size of the dataset. This type of behavior - sitting at a computer and clicking ads - is ideally suited for study. The subjects don't even need to know that it's a study about clickng ads. Just let them surf the web.
I'm certain Google has and is studying the heck out of click behavior.
So, given the importance of AdSense to your lives who has read any decent scientific study about why people click a given text ad? And the questions go on.
Weird, but not really. I think the world is just catching up with what is happening. This includes a whole lot of professors and academics. The students are likely telling the profs "we should study this" and the profs are several hints shy of having a clue what the students are talking about.
So, who knows about a publicly available behavioral analysis study of why people click what ads . .?
| 2:13 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Obviously google and yahoo have that information because they could figure out from the code where an ad is placed. They also know how much content and for how many different topics a site covers. It's all known by the all powerful google.
They will never share it. So it's up to us to come up with our own stats, research, data, etc.
IMO - people click on ads when they can't find what they are looking for.
I can get very high CTR on pages with limited content on highly targeted sites. When you add tons of great in-depth content - the CTR seems to go down (maybe because you covered what they wanted to see).
I don't neccessarily believe that ads bring value. The highest value to a visitor is giving them exactly what they wanted when they get to your site.
As far as a study showing why people click on them...
This is explained through other studies on what users dislike such as
where they have done studies on what ads users hate. Contextual ads used wisely address the issues of user-hated ads.
| 3:00 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|IMO - people click on ads when they can't find what they are looking for. |
Or when they've found when they're looking for.
Example: A user has just read a review of a cruise, or a digital camera. He sees an ad for a travel agent selling that cruise, or a dealer selling that camera. He wants to buy, so...CLICK. He's like the person who's picked up the phone to ask for a price quote or to order.
| 3:35 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
EfV - I do agree with that to some degree.
As many others have experienced - the rev. per click is going down for whatever reason, but it could be because a) users aren't buying so vendors have to lower bids because they can't afford to pay so much for low quality clicks or b) google shares less revenue in smart pricing because they know by their analytics that certain types of sites don't drive conversions.
As you had mentioned. There are so many variables.
My opinion was a bit narrow, but it holds true to the example I had below it - the MFA types sites - low quality driving traffic, but no conversions.
Which also fits into this because google obviously knows these types of sites and that's why we see so many posts about lower EPC - maybe they have the low quality sites.
It would be fascinating though to see what kind of conversions a product review site or consumer review site based on contextual advertising. Obviously, there are a lot of people making more money using adsense than affiliate programs (in certain industries at least), but does that mean more conversions? Maybe not, which may become a problem for google because advertisers may lower their bids due to junk traffic and they'll have to payout more to publishers on percentage to keep them from going back to aff. programs. That's probably why none of the networks disclose what revenue share we're getting.
Would love to see an independant study as to which type of site drives highest percentage of conversions, but that's going to require us as webmasters sharing our data with the ecomm. sites to which we drive traffic.
| 3:37 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I'd bet a good percentage don't even know they're clicking on ads.
| 4:52 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|It would be fascinating though to see what kind of conversions a product review site or consumer review site based on contextual advertising. Obviously, there are a lot of people making more money using adsense than affiliate programs (in certain industries at least), but does that mean more conversions? |
I don't know, but some of us are making a good deal more from affiliate programs than we are from AdSense, which would suggest that certain types of sites in certain industries convert quite well. (That stands to reason--on a travel-planning site, for example, people are researching ways to spend their money, so clicks on relevant ads should have a decent chance of converting or delivering good-quality leads.)
|Maybe not, which may become a problem for google because advertisers may lower their bids due to junk traffic and they'll have to payout more to publishers on percentage to keep them from going back to aff. programs. |
There's nothing to keep an AdSense publisher from using both. I've always felt that the greatest benefit of AdSense (for an editorially diverse site that does well with affiliate programs) is the ability of AdSense to "fill in the gaps." For example, if I write a review of an Elbonian kayak cruise, that isn't likely to drive any referrals to my affiliate partners, but it could very easily generate AdSense revenues as users click on ads for Elbonian kayak-cruise companies or travel agents who represent them.
|I'd bet a good percentage don't even know they're clicking on ads. |
Probably so, especially on sites where the ads are meant to look like content. (E.g., scraper or directory sites that have two big AdSense units above the fold and an AdSense wide skyscraper in the left column in lieu of navigation links.)
Obviously, different users click for different reasons, and different users on different sites click for different reasons. But there's no reason to believe that relevant ads displayed to an interested niche audience don't perform well. After all, such "endemic advertising" is the basic principle behind enthusiast publications and trade advertising. Those mail-order ads for camera dealers in the back of POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY and for The Tire Rack in CAR AND DRIVER wouldn't show up month after month, year after year if they didn't produce sales for the advertisers.
| 5:52 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I wonder how in the world I got my research done without the internet. I'm a big researcher and want to know the whole market before I put down my money.
What was hard for me to realize is that people just click willy-nilly to try to find stuff. I use multiple windows, tabs and bookmarks. Apparently most people just click from page to page with no trail of where they've been (except their history).
That's why I think they click on the ads. With that kind of surfing, the only hope you have of finding quality content or product is to click on the ads. You have a better chance of finding the targeted content than you do with organic search.
| 6:06 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
You advance many substantial issues that defy the resources of this limited forum to supply elucidation, but it would be very satisfying to ultimately know the results of your ponderings.
Maybe some day Google will impart us with enlightenment to your inquiries but until then we shall blindly plod forward in ignorance.
| 6:34 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
>Isn't it odd that the outcome of such studies - and I mean multiple behavioral studies - isn't publicly available?
>What are the colleges and universities up to?
No, it is not odd...."there is gold in these mines", if you know where it is why would you want to share it at this time?
The colleges and Universities are way behind the ball right now. They are looking at stats, not at psychology!
The mathematicians have answers, which are completely wrong because this is not a mathematical subject for the most part!
The answer to your question is actually very simple. But, you are looking at the wrong type of sites. Look at sites that make big bucks and see what they do. They are the folks today that already know the answers to the questions you raise, and they tell you those answers via their own sites.
So, the answer is simple......just look at the sites that work best!
| 6:42 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
percentages, what are these sites that work best? how would you know what site makes more money from adsense than another site?
Most people are not aware of the ads they are clicking on are ads--thats how adsense worked so well in the beginning but that may turn around soon. Those days are coming to an end because people are getting smarter. This is prob the reason that G bought a radio advertising firm and why they are wanting to get into other forms of advertising before this happens.
| 6:43 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|That's why I think they click on the ads. With that kind of surfing, the only hope you have of finding quality content or product is to click on the ads. You have a better chance of finding the targeted content than you do with organic search. |
And that's why smart pricing was invented: Because if people have to click on ads to find "targeted content," the pages they're on are worthless and aren't prequalifying prospects for advertisers.
| 6:54 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I remember a psychologist (Eysenck?) writing about a vast British "time and motion" type study which followed thousands of people around and monitored their daily habits and preferences, and tried to correlate everything with everything. His comment was that the only useful information the study uncovered was that "it takes all kinds".
That's how I feel about the Web as well, except moreso. There are so many kinds of sites, so many kinds of users, and so many different things they could be trying to accomplish at any moment, that... well, I wouldn't say it's impossible to make any generalizations, but it's definitely more art and interpretation than hard science.
| 7:11 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
>There are so many kinds of sites, so many kinds of users, and so many different things they could be trying to accomplish at any moment, that... well, I wouldn't say it's impossible to make any generalizations.
Should you not know what they are trying to accomplish. Surely if you don't.....it is the "blind leading the blind!"
>but it's definitely more art and interpretation than hard science.
Hard science has its place, just not here. We are dealing with people here, and they don't behave like lab rats.
Your site is your salesman, he can be a closer or a waffler, the choice is yours! How you design your virtual salesperson will make a huge difference!
But, to this day, the basic human laws of sales still primarily apply!
| 7:34 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The only broad answer to all of your "why's" is one word. -Information-
New generations will continue to realize the power of knowledge and spread this fact more and more. The simpler, the quickest way to reach it will win. Quality search engines and AdSense is one of these ways for today. What next? Reaching the knowledge without the need for search? Ads in our dreams?
| 7:33 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)|
People do not click on contextual links or ads, people click on what interest them and sometimes it's a contextual ad...
| 12:10 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|People do not click on contextual links or ads, people click on what interest them and sometimes it's a contextual ad... |
haha... best answer so far.