Suspicions of the obvious have been confirmed by reputable firm’s study of where visitors look on search pages; they only look at the top two ad positions on their first visit. On their second visit, they may glance at the ads on the right, but the average view is barely over 1 second.
Most people interpret the study as “ads on the right are ineffective,” but what is their definition of effective? Click-through-rate? Sales? ROI? Branding?
My definition is ROI. If you want branding, don’t use text ads. Getting a “message” across in less than three seconds of engagement is nearly impossible. If you want click-through-rate, then you had better be prepared to attract a large number of “browsers” instead of buyers who aren’t going to bring up your sales level. If you want ROI, then do it by the numbers and don’t worry about anything else.
Easy to say, hard to do. Try convincing people where their company slogan is “second place is the first loser” that being #3 on the page is what’s best for them. Yeah, not easy.