Do You Know Who Your Clickers Are?

By Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala | Feb 15, 2008
More Articles by Kaitlyn

A new study conducted by a media agency, a behavioral targeting network, and a digital consumer insight company (Starcom USA, Tacoda, and comScore, respectively) paints a new picture of the online ad clicker demographic.

Entitled “Natural Born Clickers,” the study concludes that a group the size of only 6% of all online traffic accounts for nearly 50% of online ad clicks. This segment of “heavy clickers” is also a demographic very distinct from others and not representative of the overall population.

Heavy clickers tend to be aged 25-44 with an annual household income below $44,000. They spend significantly more time online than the typical Internet user, but their online spending is less than proportional. They are also more likely to visit auction, gambling, and career sites.

The study also has some implications for advertisers looking to use online ads to build brand equity. There has been an ongoing debate over whether the medium of online ads can or should be used for branding at all. A high conversion rate is usually the metric for success of an online ad campaign, but many advertisers also interpret a high click-through rate as indicative of successful branding goals. To these brand-focused advertisers, merely getting a pair of eyes to the site can be valuable for the brand.

However, this study suggests otherwise. The researchers measured attitude towards brand and concluded no connection to the number of times the ad for a brand was clicked. Instead, branding takes place when Internet users simply see an ad in the online environment. Because the group of people who actually click frequently is a small, unrepresentative group, to only examine click performance would discount a much larger group of people for which brand attitudes may indeed be shifting due to ad impressions.

Now, how to measure the mental response of searchers to impressions is another question…

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