The 6 / 50 rule of internet advertising

comScore and behavioral ad network Tacoda  released a study last month that caught my eye.  It at least partially answers the question that I’m sure most regular internet users have asked themselves at one time or another: "who the heck actually clicks on these banner ads anyway?!?". 

Turns out that about 6% of users are "heavy clickers" in the study’s parlance.  These users generate about 50% of the total banner clicks.  The study points out that these users are heavily skewing banner click-through data.  They are also not representative of the overall internet population (heavy clickers according to the study are between the ages of 25 and 44 with household incomes less than $40k; they spend a lot of time on-line, but they don’t tend to spend a whole lot more than other users online – their clicking behavior isn’t indicative of spending behavior).Its worth taking a read of the press release which summarized the findings from their work – fascinating.

I think there’s a coming adjustment in the online advertising industry from a shift in the way that advertisers will be looking at their online spend (which overall, I – and pretty much everyone else – believe is increasing in the aggregate).  This shift will ultimately result in much better targeting and matching of users (and specific user demographics) to advertisers.  However overall, it will also result in the lowering of mean eCPM as "average" traffic proves to be less attractive to advertisers.  CPC traffic won’t go away, but clearly we’ll see more specific measurement of those clicks (and their resulting buying actions) that will try to separate the bad traffic from the good.

Hat tip: AdLab