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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is the online ad industry a fraud?

As highligthed by MacLeans, the Advertising Research Foundation did an experiment showing that:
A blank banner ad received more clicks than the average Facebook ad, twice as many as your average “branded” display ad (a static ad which promotes a brand rather than a specific offer or call to action), and only one click in ten thousand less than the average banner ad.
While we all hate advertising when browsing, it provides nice revenues and is often how a website is able to live.

What the ARF shows us is that the companies paying for advertising may be paying for air or, what is more likely to be true, inflated data.

They also asked the users if it was a mistake or if they were curious about a “blank”:
The average click-through rate across half a million ads served was 0.08%, which would be good for a brand campaign, and so-so for a direct response campaign. We detected no click fraud in the data we counted. Half the clickers told us they were curious, the other half admitted to a mistaken click.
The conclusions are yours to make.