Understanding Non-Clicks of Online Ads

The 80-20 rule is effectively used to make the point that a large majority of activity (sales, productivity, etc.) comes from a small minority of people. While percentages do not come out literally 80-20 every time, the point is well taken that most results are generated by a few people.

The principle behind the 80-20 rule applies to consumer response to online advertising. Research by comScore reveals that 85% of clicks for online ads are made by only 8% of Internet users. So instead of 80-20, clicks for online ads follow an 85-8 rule! Furthermore, 84% of web users do not click online ads.

What should we take away from these findings? Reduce spending on display ads online? Such a response might be understandable given 84% of web users do not act in the way we desire, but that would be the incorrect response. While click-throughs provide a measure of an audience responding to an ad, do ads that are not clicked still have an impact? The answer seems to be "yes."

Related research by comScore has found online ad presence is related to greater brand-specific searches, increased visits to brand web sites, and increased online and offline sales. Notice that these outcomes are related to ad presence, not ad clicks. Thus, online ads appear to be noticed and processed by consumers, even if most of them do not take the action of clicking ads for more information and brand engagement.

Center for Media Research - "8% of Internet Users Account for 85% of All Clicks"

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