If you want to reap and maximize the true benefits of marketing, you can match an advertisement to a web page’s content or make it stand unique by adding eye-catching pop-up graphics and video. But a combination of the two marketing strategies is never recommended.
Avi Goldfarb, an associate professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Management, who wrote the paper with Catherine Tucker of MIT’s Sloan School of Business, said a combination of targeting and visible ads do not work.
The study, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of Marketing Science, used data from nearly 3,000 web advertising campaigns across a wide variety of product categories. It found that high-visibility ads were associated with better consumer recall, while content-linked ads led to higher consumer purchase plans. But although consumers still had good recall when the strategies were used together, their purchase intentions were worse than if the ad had not been particularly visible at all.
The effect was strongest in more private product categories — such as financial products — and among consumers who declined to offer information about their incomes when asked in an online survey. The results may explain the unexpected success of Google AdSense, says the study, which uses unobtrusive text-based ads that are tied to a webpage’s content.
At $6 billion U.S. in revenue a year, Google Adsense generates more than half of the total online display market, worth about $11.2 billion.
Goldfarb remarked that the results suggest that privacy is important in something of a subtle way in online advertising.
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