Affiliate Marketing & Programs

50% Of Online Ads Are Never Seen


A recently released survey has come to the sobering conclusion that up to half of online advertising budgets are being wasted on ads that consumers never see. Brand safety and advertising viewability analysis company AdSafe Media released the results of their Engagement Quality and Contextual Relevance research as part of their Semiannual Review.

The study was lead by computer scientist Panos Ipeirotis who helped to develop a method to measure how long an ad was actually visible to a user. It was found that 38% of ads on a webpage are never seen at all, 50% are seen for half of a second or less, which was considered to be the equivalent of not being seen at all, and 56% were seen for less than five seconds. This was shown true in many cases even if the ads were located “above the fold”. Page layout and main content were major factors affecting ad visibility.

Professor Ipeirotis predicted that as a result of the study there would soon be a change in how ads are priced, shifting from a pricing model based on volume of ads served to one based on visibility statistics. After all, he points out, advertisers shouldn’t be paying for ads that people never see or don’t see for long enough to be noticed.

For affiliates and other online advertisers there’s really not much being offered in the way of advice as to how to increase ad visibility other than to be aware of how important it is and to continue to use their ad dollars as effectively as possible. But it’s certain that studies like this will bring about change sooner rather than later.

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3 Responses to 50% Of Online Ads Are Never Seen

  1. NAMoffers September 10, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Let’s see what happen, but I think that there are going to be changes within the whole online marketing business pretty soon. Seeing Google doing everything to punish “bad quality” SEO and driving businesses to use adwords instead of working with SEM/SEO.

    Great blog on this matter :)

  2. KeninSD September 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    So, nothing’s changed in advertising since Claude Hopkins observed that half of all advertising dollars are wasted! The advances in technology, e.g. internet and online advertising, should have helped this, or at least shown which half was wasted (Hopkins real concern), but it seems that online advertisers have not learned the lessons after all this time. Proper testing, A-B and response tests and select offers can solve this, but it takes effort and knowledge, something that too few online affiliate marketers are willing to learn.

  3. Bob Price September 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for your comments, much appreciated. And thanks for the reference to Claude Hopkins Ken, I was not familiar with the man, you made me look it up. Dude was making $185,000 in 1907! I would have to agree with both of your comments, and yes proper use of testing methods would help a lot. It’s easy now to track how many people look at a page, but unless they respond directly to an ad, how do you know how effective that ad is? It’ll be interesting to see how advertising evolves in the near future.


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