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What makes people Click

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4:47 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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For the life of me I'm still clueless when it comes to the mental state of a person clicking on AdSense ads.

General off the top of my head possibilities:

1- Compelling on topic or Relevant supplemental information
2- They don't know it's an ad (well "blended")
3- They know it's an ad but want to get the hell out (MFA)
4- Just boredom

Has anyone made a serious study on why people click on text ads? For every reason except (1) smells like SmartPricing trouble.

How can a webmaster find out without calling "undue" attention to ads?

6:49 am on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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blairsp,
It is explained in #7, and we are discussing why people click not what publishers think of Google or VS.

ann

7:18 am on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I haven't a clue as to why others click but I often use the paid ads in the serps as, usually, when I do serious searching with my credit card out I want to find the items quickly so that comparisons can be made. All that takes a lot of time and the ads are the fastest way to them.

I also surf for information and do not enjoy going through site after site (with most of them being dismal disappointments) trying to find the info.

I wish I could get a handle on why they click ads because, wow would I make some bucks....8)

Ann

12:00 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think there are two reasons. First is novelty, didnt you ever used to click on ads when the internet was new to you? Many school / college kids still click ads for this reason, especially ads that use multimedia.

The second reason and why I occasionally click on them is the text in the ad is telling me its exactly what im looking for, usually when I have made a decision i need to buy something (usually software utility) even before starting to search.

12:13 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Working in a professional area that is littered with tons of consultants offering no diverse services, pretty much all Adsense ads (even if showing 12 in 3 boxes across large pages) all read exactly the same:

Consultant Product
Bla, Bla, Bla

Consultant Service
Bla, Bla, Bla

Consultant Product
Bla, Bla, Bla

Consultant Product
Bla, Bla, Bla

Not very exciting for the audience and I am considering not running any ads at all, but then again: who pays my expenses?

So, I can't really tell other then my users don't belong to the "stoopid bunch" as described earlier in this thread (a suicide message really, if this reflects the real attitude of someone in need of customers as we all should be), they justt don't click that stuff and stick to my content instead.

12:21 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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OptiRex:
>is everyone "mouse lazy" where I go?

On the topic of laziness, allow me to explain it a little better:

5- Laziness (not wanting to type new terms in the search)

If you remember there was a time when Google would not offer spelling and similar meaning alternatives to your search, now it does and that spares the people the hassle of retyping a new search term, with time the distance between you and the keyboard increases, and the distance between you and the mouse shortens, many times I take my mouse alone on surfing trips with minimal keyboard interaction, meaning typing another web site address or another search term becomes an occasional thing, you surf through a web site content and ads, go to your bookmarks for another site, hit the back button to Google serps.. No keyboard. Has it always been like that? I don't think so, surfers are more lazy now, and we and Google contribute and cater to their laziness, and it pays well. If you do not offer related topics and links on your site you are missing out on a lot of traffic and income.

3:41 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Here's a reason I click ads that many of you may not like:

I visit a certain site that gets a huge amount of daily traffic. It's a relatively small political site run by a kid who works his tail off and doesn't have any other income. Sometimes I click the ads just because I know it will pay for the site's preservation. I assume that MANY people do the same thing. And I've even seen other site owners in blog land blatantly tell their readers to click on the ads to ensure the quality of the site.

I don't think that bloggers should be telling their readers to do this but I do think webmasters and the folks who pay for ads should take this possibility into consideration. You can rationalize the loss of conversions as the cost of viral marketing. Eventually, people who give "love clicks" might start getting Stockholm's syndrome for the ads, inaccurately believing that the ad placers actually hand-picked the sites we love because they share the same values.

3:54 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I know it sound a little harsh and these have been mentioned, but:

1. People are stupid and lazy, jam an add in their face (sorry I meant place), and why not it works for the big papers and large websites, why not yours too? After all Google do have a vested interest at stake.

2. Your ads are targetted.

3. Google Ads looks pretty on a .....y looking site. Oooo, shiny.

Anything more is really overthinking the whole situation, no?

[edited by: Bennie at 3:55 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2006]

4:01 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"love clicks" is a very dangerous thing mrjohncory, helping a webmaster to the money of an advertiser breaches the TOS, and is neither help nor charity, for charity is when you give that webmaster from your own pocket, when it is from someone else's, it has other names. And not help because you are subjecting him to the loss of earnings with smartpricing, being kicked out of the program as well as bad karma.
7:45 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I personally feel & observed that....90 % of the Visitors think Good Ad is some kind of SITE CONTENT so they want to visit the link!

But I am always seen that once the visitor becomes aware that it is a some kind of ad they are not clicking again..:-(

So always I am trying to find the new ways to make them feel that it is part of site content by changing the location, colors of the ads etc...etc..!

Still....I STRONGLY FEEL that in coming days it is very very HARD to RELY on the Google Adsense Income to RUN any site....so guyz be prepared.

8:10 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What's disturbing is not that most theories on why people click tend to favor 2-8, obviously there is enough #1 visitors otherwise the advertisers would have been out of here and there wouldn't be this forum, what's sad is how we are unable to quantify and dissect the anatomy of the majority of our clicks due to the terms of service we agreed to, I am guessing that the Google research results are locked in a vault at the bottom of the ocean somewhere.

Here's what we have again:

1- Compelling on topic or Relevant supplemental information
2- They don't know it's an ad (well "blended")
3- They know it's an ad but want to get the hell out (MFA)
4- Just boredom
5- Laziness (not wanting to type new terms in the search)
6- Novelty factor (opposite of ad blindness) not used to seeing ads in a specific topic or new to the net.
7- Trust (Advertiser brand recognition or publisher trust)
8- Lack of other content like in MFA, or when the page is off topic but the ads are on topic.

9:08 pm on Sept 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"love clicks" is a very dangerous thing mrjohncory, helping a webmaster to the money of an advertiser breaches the TOS, and is neither help nor charity, for charity is when you give that webmaster from your own pocket, when it is from someone else's, it has other names. And not help because you are subjecting him to the loss of earnings with smartpricing, being kicked out of the program as well as bad karma.

If someone who doesn't know that advertisers pay a fee for clicks on a publisher's site clicks anyway, it isn't a conscious TOS violation. The casual surfer knows little if anything about how sites pay for themselves. OTOH, such a surfer could innocently cause the site to be smartpriced, or worse, as you say.

As to @mrjohncory's previous remark about what advertisers do about this, smartpricing (decreasing the CPC) is one of the tools advertisers have to decrease their exposure to repeated clicks.

3:17 am on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What I have learned over the past two years is that your target audience also matters quite a bit. I have a fair amount of content sites ranging from recipes, to sports, to marketing and even halloween.

Currently I am using the same wordpress theme, text colors and ad colors. Also using the same adsense colors on several of these sites. My webmaster related site has terrible ctr, heck webmasters can spot adsense blindfolded. Yet the same site look and theme on a different content site enjoys a ctr nearly 10x that of the webmaster related site.

Both site pull in plenty of on topic ads as well...

my 2 cents

Brian

5:39 am on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>compelling targeted ad text is the biggest driver<<

I think this is by far the biggest reason and it involves two things the publisher has no control over. Google does the targeting and the advertiser writes the ad.

I do think there might be a false sense of trust in ads from quality sites. Most people think the publisher has control over what ads are shown.

5:39 am on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>compelling targeted ad text is the biggest driver<<

I think this is by far the biggest reason and it involves two things the publisher has no control over. Google does the targeting and the advertiser writes the ad.

I do think there might be a false sense of trust in ads from quality sites. Most people think the publisher has control over what ads are shown.

10:42 am on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How to get clicks? Consider getting AIDA going for you:

Attention

Interest

Desire

Action

AIDA is an old marketing acronym describing the potential customer behavior process.

Attention First you reel them in with something that catches their interest. If you get traffic organically then this is probably in your title tag (imagine this as your ad headline) and futher expanded in the description meta tag (this is your ad text).

Interest Give them content that wets their appetite on the product or field of interest (intangible product).

Desire Shape the content presentation page to make potential customers want to get the product, here and now. This is where I spend most of the time testing.

Action Give them the ability to react on the desire by presenting them with ads, links, clickable products like Amazon's direct product displays or whatever.

This is basic business school stuff, but one of the processes/acronyms I still use continously. It's a classic, and perfectly adaptable for web use as I've tried to exemplify with the comments.

2:16 pm on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If someone who doesn't know that advertisers pay a fee for clicks on a publisher's site clicks anyway, it isn't a conscious TOS violation

I don't think you will find the word "conscious" anywhere in the TOS, also the violator is not the surfer, but the publisher that called for the clicks.

2:38 pm on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What I have learned over the past two years is that your target audience also matters quite a bit.

Exactly, and that's why some major advertisers would rather put their money into other forms of advertising than take potluck with Adwords and especially with AdSense. I can see this in my own sector, where big companies gravitate toward online display ads while AdSense text ads are used more by smaller companies and mom-and-pop businesses that have fewer advertising choices. There's some overlap between the markets, but not as much as there could be if advertisers had the option of selecting contextual-ad audiences that are likely to click for the right reasons (not just because the publisher has blended ads into the navigation bar or loaded pages with more ad units than content).

11:28 pm on Sept 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't think you will find the word "conscious" anywhere in the TOS, also the violator is not the surfer, but the publisher that called for the clicks.

Well, what I meant was that the surfer may not be aware that he or she is doing anything wrong. While many people may be aware that publisher sites are paid with clicks, they may not be aware that routine clicking can be interpreted as a policy violation. (After all, the casual surfer's model is that of TV or radio, where there is no penalty involved for listening or watching.)

True, the publisher is considered to be the violator. The publisher cannot exercise full control over the well-meaning clickers.

7:48 am on Sept 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It is explained in #7, and we are discussing why people click not what publishers think of Google or VS

Sorry coming back to this a bit late. I was talking about a person clicking not the publisher. The point I was making is a person will click on a google advert because they trust what? That google is a good company who wouldn't take any poor advertisers? Everyone who advertises on Google is a good company so I can click (as a surfer) because G is great and therefore its advertisers are also. If people are that gullible I will have to start selling my patented snake oil remedies on google adwords
9:44 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It should be a bit of each 7 points and vary from user to user
10:26 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Blair, I was referring to the advertiser's identity when I suggested trust. Google itself had nothing to do with it.

Example: on a page about long term care insurance, an ad from AARP could carry a "trust" factor as opposed to an ad from unknown "everything-about-insurance" directories. Or in lodging/travel, an ad from Travelocity carries an element of trust against a field of "lowest airfares, discount travel, etc" entries.

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