Online advertising: is it really working?

Seeing is believing. This has been quite right for a long time. But does it also work in measuring efficiency of online advertising?

I was chatting with my group members (Allison, Andrea and Pema) the other day and Allison mentioned to us this video on youtube. The title is Click, Baby, Click! I was immediately drawn and watched this video, which has raised to my attention: are statistics about online advertising and marketing reliable?

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Online advertising has become popular as they can use different platforms to target different groups of audience, as we have discussed in class. In Young (2012)’s book, it’s also emphasized that utilizing digital platforms to accomplish integrated marketing communication. It’s safe to say that with the aid of cookies and personal information gathered online, digital marketing can be very effective. Judged from the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report done by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), companies are investing more in online advertising and the amount has now reached 9.6 billion dollars. Apparently, companies find it worth investing in digital advertisement.


IAB Report: Digital Advertising Revenue up 15.6% since 2012

However, it is really what we think it is? As seen in this video, it is a problem for companies to realize when the numbers are reflecting the reality and when it is not. With online advertising, the most difficult part is not to target the right audience accurately, but to measure the efficiency of putting advertisements online. Without really knowing how online advertisement is helpful, isn’t it a bit too bold or irrational, like the boss in the video, to decide whether to increase production?

So here comes the question: are these online advertisements really being seen?

Nowadays with so much information being exposed online to us everyday, I find it really easy to block the advertisements instinctively. In a class I am taking, the professor once asked the class:”Can you recall some advertisements you have seen online today?” I was shocked that I couldn’t remember any of them, nor could most of my classmates. He then further illustrated, that this is why companies are still putting the most amount of money in traditional advertising, simply because it’s easier to catch eye balls and actually being seen. ComScore has recently published a study that suggested 46% of advertisements online are not being seen by consumers, and the main reason is that the ads are positioned on areas on webpages that people automatically filter. Think of the amount of money invested in the online advertising market, and think of the percentage of that being wasted. Doesn’t it seem too hasty to advertise on digital platforms, before knowing how to measure the efficiency?

There is a method called “pay-per-click”, meaning companies pay advertising agencies by the number of clicks on the ads. However, does a click really indicate that the person is interested? We don’t really know what is happening on the other side of the tunnel. Maybe, there is some one who is interested in that ad, but it’s also possible, that on that side there is just another baby who is messing with you.

-Fenni Huang




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One Response to Online advertising: is it really working?

  1. Andrea Pan says:

    This is an interesting topic. I find that, for me personally, I hate online advertising and especially hate the ones that are targeted specifically to me based off of my online behaviors (i.e. which websites I check, which products I purchase, etc.). I was never directed to a certain site because of online ads and all I do when I encounter one is exiting out. I feel like more and more companies/brands are starting to notice the power of Internet and social media, so they invest much on those platforms blindly without knowing if it is effective or if it suits their brand image and the industry in general. For instance, I know that most users of Pinterest are on there looking for wedding inspirations. With that being said, would a consumer product company be popular on Pinterest? My guess is no. So I think companies should get wise before investing in online advertising.