One-third of Online Display Banners Don’t Have a Chance of Being Seen

Comscore set out to count the percentage of online display ads that never get the chance of being seen by human eyes — ads that are below the fold or are visible for less than a second before the viewer moves to another page. Turns out, 31% of banners fall into this unfortunate bucket. From Ad Age:

The company said at an event this morning that it tested out the software over the last two months on campaigns for 12 big brands, including Kraft Foods, Ford, and Sprint. One of the key findings: 31% of the 1.7 billion ad impressions were never in view. The number is probably not a shock to many in the space, and is the main reason why so-called remnant inventory sells for a fraction of the space above the fold.

In this on-demand world, television ads aren’t faring much better. Perhaps worse. In 2010 the UK’s Guardian published researching suggesting that 86% of DVR users always skip through commercials. More recent research conducted by TV Guide and PaidContent found that people are watching more TV than ever, but they’re migrating viewership to online and DVRs — and among people watching on a DVR-enabled TV 96% now say they are fast-forwarding commercials.

Market research firm Yankelovich estimates that someone living in a city 5 years ago was exposed to 5,000 ad messages a day, up from 2,000 per day 30 years earlier (NY Times). That’s a scary number until you consider that we skip the ones on TV, don’t see a big percentage of the ones on websites, and tune out much of the rest of them. As supply of ad inventory approaches the infinite — on billions of websites, across more and more TV channels, and on every other stretch of public space from urinals to eggshells — it’s easy to find cheap media. As the cost of entry goes down, the percentage of crappy ads is going up, and with it consumers’ motivation to use technology and their brains to ignore more of them.

(Art credit: David Shannon.)

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