Issues arise in online ad effectiveness and tracking

adtrapThe new  AdTrap device intercepts online advertisements before they reach any devices that access your Internet connection, allowing you to surf the Web — even stream videos — without those annoying ads.  AdTrap, a white rectangular box that resembles a wireless router and costs about $120, intercepts the ads before they reach the laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The question is will consumers pay for a device like this or will they continue in large part to ignore online ads ?

The Internet is getting dangerous.  Authorities and Internet-security experts say tens of thousands of dubious websites are popping up across the Internet. Their phony Web traffic is often fueled by “botnets,” zombie armies of hijacked PCs that are controlled from unknown locations around the world, according to Internet security experts.  The sites take advantage of the simple truth that advertisers pay to be seen. This creates an incentive for fraudsters to erect sites with phony traffic, collecting payments—often through middlemen and sometimes directly from advertisers.  This is scary stuff to most consumers.

Fake web traffic has long plagued the online publishing world, but Dr. Paul Barford, computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin, is claiming the problem might be worse than suspected. And it’s costing some of the top online advertisers millions in wasted ad impressions.


Dr. Barford, who is also the chief scientist at startup MdotLabs, is slated to present a study at an Internet security symposium Wednesday in Washington, D.C., where he we will claim that 10 traffic networks are serving up more than 500 million invalid ad impressions a month.

“We estimate the cost to advertisers for this fraudulent traffic to be on the order of $180 million annually,” he said in a statement in advance of the presentation.

According to JOSHUA KORAN  in Ad Age Consumers do exhibit different mindsets and behaviors as they use different devices. Though a person remains the same person as he watches prime-time TV, searches for a product on Amazon or checks his Facebook feed, he has a different level of receptivity to advertising in each of these contexts. We can’t effectively use cross-device advertising without taking this into account.  Much ad spending would be wasted using cross-device tracking to send a similar message to someone whose attention is very different, depending on which device he’s using and his current activity.

But their are successes in online campaigns…

According to Nielsen the vast majority (76%) of online campaigns geared toward consumers ages 18-49—the standard TV demo—reached that audience. These consumers make up just half (51%) of the online audience, demonstrating that online campaigns are generally successful at marketing to specific audiences.  Ad campaigns geared toward consumers ages 21-34 reach their intended audience 62 percent of the time. Campaigns focused on reaching consumers ages 35-54, on the other hand, reach them just 41 percent of the time. This is despite the fact that those 21-34 represent less than a quarter of the online population (22%), compared with one-third for consumers 35-54.

However Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries,

  • 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007.
  • Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.

On the Web, four-in-10 respondents rely on ads served alongside search engine results, 36 percent trust online video advertisements, and one-third believe the messages in online banner ads—an increase of 27 percent since 2007.

But consumers are skeptical…

Adobe’s research showed almost half of the respondents agree ‘online advertising is creepy and stalks you’, and more than half agree that ‘most marketing is a bunch of B.S.’. The poll also underlines the ongoing problem with online ads failing to capture people’s attention — only in-app/in-game ads fared worse in the battle for consumers’ attention, with print-based ads and TV commercials grabbing far more consumer mindshare.  Almost a third of consumers (30 percent) think online advertising is not effective, while more than half (54 percent) reckon web banner ads don’t work. Unsurprisingly a smaller percentage of marketers held those views (16 percent and 33 percent respectively).

online ads adobe

Around the world, consumers and marketers alike believe that traditional media such as newspapers and TV are better advertising sources than digital platforms such as websites, social media pages and blogs, finds Adobe in data from its “Click Here: The State of Online Advertising” report.



So what does it all mean ?

The data proves that an integrated approach to reaching consumers works best.  Marketers and agencies have to work to continually optimize their media risk as well as understanding effective reach versus ads being an annoyance to consumers.


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