Digital Ads: Why Settle for the 6% When You Can Shoot for the 94%

Written by: Adam Gray

My business partner Tim Hughes sent me the following article the other day asking me to make comment on it.

As the title suggests, it asks the question “why do consumers click on paid search ads?” So, does it answer this question?

Well if you get an answer from surveying 506 people and expect it to give you insights in to how people behave in an environment where the average paid search clickthrough from Google is 193.2 million per day, then yes it does. But I can’t help feeling that this is not a particularly diligent piece of research. Yes, I know that 76 is the number of responses for the data to be statistically sound but a 1 in 382000 sample really doesn’t seem that representative to me.The other thing is that 33% of respondents clicked the ad because it “answered their search query” I can’t help but feel there’s an elephant in this particular room that nobody has mentioned. The elephant is that most people don’t click ads. Yes, I grant you that 193 million per day is a lot of clicks, but more interesting is that for every search that is conducted on Google where a paid ad is the answer…erm…18 are conducted where a paid ad is NOT actually the answer. Yes, that’s a more than 3.3 billion searches per day when no ad is clicked.Shouldn’t the 94% that aren’t clicking ads be the focus of businesses efforts rather than the 6% that are clicking ads?The problem is, as is so often the case, that people take the easy option where possible. Do an advert because it means there’s no need to be innovative (or even clever), simply decide what you want to be seen for and put your hand in your pocket! I know what you’re thinking…we run an ad words campaign and it generates a 3:1 ROI so we’re happy. But that isn’t how to be dominant, did Google themselves say “we have twice as much market share as our nearest competitor so we can stop”? No. Nor Apple, IBM, McKinsey, Michael Jordan, McLaren, BMW, Rolex or any other really successful company. Why settle for the 6% when you can shoot for the 94%?Related: Strip out Cost from Your Organization with Social MediaSure, it might require some hard work. Yes it might be difficult and require risks to be taken and shirts to be bet…but nobody said it was going to be easy!Remember that with your ads failing to reach the vast majority of people perhaps the new frontier is to think about how you mobilise earned rather than paid media to begin a meaningful dialogue with those people. Social…the answer is invariably social!