Marketers to Demand Best Positions for Display Ads

The old saying that first impressions make a difference counts in marketing. Advertisers are routinely allocating a significant portion of their media budgets to display marketing. But those online ads can’t make much of a difference if they don’t have a chance to make an impression – often because they’re located in the wrong place.

Casale Media, operator of MediaNet recently analyzed the performance of display ads using the following criteria:  placement with respect to ‘page fold’, time of delivery during a user session, and exposure frequency. Note that the term ‘page fold’ refers to placement in the top part of the page – a user does not have to scroll to see the ad.

In Casale Media’s analysis of impressions delivered during 2011, several statistics became apparent. The 1.9 billion impressions in the study resulted in about 3.1 million clicks. Of those, 3.09 million were on ads that appeared above fold. Similarly, ads which appeared 1st or 2nd during a session had a 0.32% click rate. Ads that appeared 3rd through 6th had a .12% click rate. Analysts say this trend mirrors what happens in traditional print advertising.  " 'Early' pages, situated near the main editorial content, carry a higher advertising rate” because readers pay the most attention to those areas.

Analysts also urge branding-​focused advertisers to pay attention to details when making display media buys. Avoid sites with excessive clutter. In addition, select sites where users are likely to notice ads – often this means not buying space on photo galleries. And determine whether the site uses an auto-​refresh mechanism which, at times, could put ads in a ‘vacuum’ if a user leaves a browser open.

To optimize display campaign performance, more marketers will start paying attention to details. This means demanding ‘above the fold’ placement, appearance early in an online session and repeated exposure of 5 times during a session. It also means talking with the site operator about how they position content during user sessions.

[Source: Link between ad placement and performance. Casale Media. 2011. Web. 3 Aug. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.