It’s no big secret that businesses and individuals today are dealing with a pretty severe case of information overload. We’re bombarded by so many messages—from so many different sources—that it’s impossible to absorb them all. Those of us tasked with the responsibility of marketing, however, feel obligated to add to the cacophony, so we continue to trumpet our messages in hopes that we’ll be heard. But is anybody listening, or are they ignoring us? Who’s ignoring you today?
A recent Ad Age article talked about one aspect of online marketing in which this is apparently true, painting a less-than-promising picture of the impact of online ads.
ComScore raised eyebrows with research last year showing 31% of online display ads are never actually viewed, but upon further review, things are even worse: its latest data indicate 46% of ads are never seen by website visitors.
That’s a bit reminiscent of the famous quote attributed to John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” The article goes on to talk about the importance of being seen. But what does “being seen” really mean? ComScore counts an online ad as “viewable” if at least 50 percent of pixels are in view for at least half a second for a site visitor. That’s not much of a connection.
Being seen may be important, but it’s not the endgame. Your goal isn’t just to get “eyeballs” on your ad. You want people to engage with you, to interact with you. So unless your online ad has a clear and motivating call to action, it’s not really doing you much good. But if only half of your viewers see your ad (for half a second!) they’re probably not going to do a lot of engaging. There’s got to be a better way.
That’s why content marketing is so important. Generally speaking, people don’t go to the Web (initially) to buy. They’re looking for information. It’s the content on your website that pulls people in, engages them and keeps them coming back. As consumers, we’ve trained ourselves to ignore sales pitches. So have our customers. It’s no surprise that viewers ignore online ads. Most of them are geared to push information out to an audience—trying to get that audience to buy something. Content marketing on the other hand—as a part of an inbound marketing strategy—pulls potential customers in by giving them the information they’re after and empowering them to achieve their agenda.
By the way, if you’d like a more in-depth look at the difference between an outbound and an inbound approach to marketing, download our free Inbound/Outbound Marketing white paper.
What are you doing today to keep potential clients from ignoring you?