Lights! Camera! Google!

Google will be rolling out user initiated video advertising across it’s AdSense network.

Broken record time. I applaud Google’s decision to keep engagement with the video in the hands of the user.

But on a more fundamental level, I have to question the whole level of engagement with display advertising on sites. It seems like the harder advertiser’s scream, the more determined we are to ignore them. On a recent eye tracking study we did for MarketingSherpa, we were absolutely amazed with the small amount of scanning done in the typical ad positions on a page. Less than 10% of visitors even looked at these sections (top banner, right and left rail) of the page. Now, the purpose of the study wasn’t to look at this aspect specifically, but the scan patterns were undeniably clear. Interestly, text based ads that appeared within the flow of the main content had higher scanning levels, even when they appeared well below the fold.

Of course, these numbers are probably not terribly surprising, given the fact that visitors aren’t there to look at ads, but it makes you question the whole idea of paying by impression. If you’re buying based on a CPM model, realize that for every 1000 impressions, only 60 or 70 people are actually seeing the ad, even for a split second. Suddenly, those low clickthrough rates start to make sense.

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