Why is classical advertising not effective online?

Offline vs. online — How digital advertising beats classical advertising | Why is classical advertising not effective online?
  1. Online users are active and goal-driven

    People on the web are active and goal-driven. Thus, classical advertising is perceived as an obstacle between the user and his goal. This lead to phenomena such as banner blindness and ad click-through rate (CTR) constantly dropping down over the years.

  2. A page visit usually doesn’t equal an ad view

    One of the biggest mistakes advertisers fall for is that they assume that page visitors see their banner-like ads. That is almost never the case as proved by banner blindness.

  3. CTR is on the constant fall

    CTR is on the constant fall. The first banner from Hotwired in 1994 had a record CTR of 78%. This was probably due to the novelty element. Today, in 2015, CTR plummeted down to just 0.01% according to Facebook statistics (a 1500 times change from 1994).

  4. Advertisers wrongly assume universal ad format will work online

    Most advertisers think an ad works everywhere the same: TV, newspaper, billboard, website – it doesn’t make the difference. That is not the case. The ad’s effectiveness depends on the media and how users interacts with it. TV ads are unsuitable for online because internet and TV are different media.

  5. Internet isn’t a passive, emotional medium like the TV is

    TV is a passive medium whose ads have an emotional impact on the viewer and require almost no cognitive load. Internet, on the other hand, is an active, cognitive medium driven by user’s actions towards his goal. Users are in charge of where to go next and online ads should support that fact.

  6. Web is a customer-driven medium

    Users most often come to internet to get something done. They control the Back button and there is no way to trap them inside the ad. Breaking the Back button is one of the worst design mistakes. (See Study summary: How much users read on the web?)

  7. Things such as banner blindness, delays in ad loading and ads served on unrelated pages all do a disfavor to classical advertisement. TV ad is served without a delay, it has high production value and requires no action from the viewer. Online, users can’t get that.

  8. Hard selling strategy doesn’t work online

    Classical ads’ have a strategy of hard selling. On the web, users are much more prone to do their research on their own and direct transactions are a rarity. Almost all customers read reviews, compare and research products and services before deciding for them.

  9. Classical ads don’t offer rich and valuable content

    The most powerful advertisement strategy is creating something that classical ads cannot – rich and valuable content – the very thing users seek on the internet. Other websites that link to such content and search engines will appreciate such content too. (See Why do websites have so many ads?)

  10. Classical ads aren’t like classified ads

    One type of ads works better online than it does in its original medium – these are classified ads from newspapers. Classifieds probably work good on the web because they closely resemble the format, design and content found online. They are straight to the point and don’t concern with fancy design.

  11. Classical ads don’t support user’s goals

    Classical ads concern more with their presentation than with supporting the user in his mission to reach his goal. Because of this, search engine text ads are more likely to be noticed because they are relevant to the user’s goal and serve the asked content directly.

  12. Users are ready for the classical ads once they complete their goal

    When a user comes to a website, he’ll be ready to notice classical ads only after he’s done with his main goal – reading news, researching a topic, or any other goal he had in mind. But, this almost never happens as the classical ad goes away or user never stops engaging with other, relevant content.

  13. Classical ads break stability, one of the oldest design principles

    Many users notice a relevant classical ad after clicking on a link and waiting for the next page to load. Intrigued, they click the Back button only to find a different, irrelevant ad in the place of the previous, relevant one. This goes against stability – the oldest design principle.

  14. Classical ads can’t be reviewed

    Most users don’t want to be disturbed while doing their current task. Classical ads try to do exactly that, disturb the user in his current task. However, after finishing his tasks users might want to review previous ads but no mechanism for that exists as ads expired and disappeared.

  15. Classical ads go against user’s psychology

    The current strategy of marketing business is to make classical ads bigger and more aggressive as a solution to their diminishing popularity. This isn’t insightful and goes against user’s psychology. The internet is users’ medium and they will find ways to keep it that way.

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