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How Much Time People Really Spend with Ads

Clicks don’t give the full picture

August 24, 2009

Marketers are used to low click-through rates—but they also know the click isn’t the only way users engage with advertising. Other metrics are needed to measure the full range of interaction that might take place with online advertising.

Eyeblaster set out to develop a new type of measurement, dwell rate, in its “Trends of Time and Attention in Online Advertising” report. “Dwelling” on an ad is spending time with it, including mouse-overs, user-initiated video duration, user-initiated expansion duration and other user-initiated custom interaction durations.

“Recent research shows that the lack of suitable metrics as a top frustration for marketers,” said Gal Trifon, CEO and co-founder of Eyeblaster. “Technology allows us to analyze consumer time spent with display advertising and indicates that consumers intentionally spend nearly a minute with online ads on average.”

The difference between clicks and general interaction was huge in 2008. For example, the average worldwide click-through rate for rich media ads studied was 0.35%. The average dwell rate for those ads was a much more impressive 8.71%.

Broken down further, in North America expandable banners had only a 0.3% click-through rate, but a 7.1% dwell rate and an average user dwell time of more than 45 seconds. Other rich media formats saw similar improvements in engagement measured by dwell or interaction rate.

Online Advertising Metrics in North America, by Rich Media Format, 2008

As the report notes, dwell time is an important metric. Internet users in North America spent the longest time dwelling on online ads appearing in the mail category, at nearly 85 seconds. Instant messaging ads were a close second, at nearly 74 seconds, with news, technology and games rounding out the top five.

Time Spent on Online Advertising Among Internet Users in North America, by Site Category, 2008 (seconds)

Frustrated by a lack of online ad metrics? Read eMarketer’s special report, “Online Brand Measurement: Connecting the Dots.”

Check out today’s other article, “Google Keeps Its Grip on Search.”


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