Interesting post by danah boyd — a sociologist who has become known for focusing on social networks such as MySpace and how young people use (and abuse) them — about the billion-dollar question: Who is clicking on all those Web ads, and what does that say about Web advertising and about the online economy in general?

I know I’ve never clicked on a Web ad of any kind, or at least not out of a genuine desire to buy something. So who does? Research suggests it’s primarily lower-income Web surfers, and predominantly women. And the same research suggests that 99 per cent of people don’t click on ads, and only about .2 per cent click a lot.

Are they carrying the entire Web on their shoulders, and if so what does that mean? Read the whole thing.

About the author

Mathew 2414 posts

I'm a Toronto-based former senior writer with Gigaom and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

10 Responses to “Who clicks on all those Web ads?”
  1. interesting… i always asking me about that. Recently I have developing a academic research about the ads and content blogs. May be these data will help me.

    Ahn, by the way… i write my progress on my blog… it's in portuguese, but if you wanna read i will apraciate!

    sorry about my grammar mistakes… hehe

  2. wow, shocking.

    No, seriously. does that surprise anyone? It actually says nothing about webadvertising but it says something about advertising. just because these kind of numbers are available for webadvertising doesn't mean it is per se worse than say tv-ads. what do you think would be the clickthrough-rate on tv-ads if there were any and it would be measureable? exactly.
    webadvertising comes with two more features than the normal ads from the analog age:
    1. people can click through to the product
    2. targeting can be made way better (long tail yadda yadda)

    • That's a good point, Marcel — and danah even mentions something like
      that in her post. TV ads and the Home Shopping Network and so on may
      have similar “click-through” rates, but they're not as easy to track
      as Web ads.

  3. […] of my favourite Canadian new media bloggers; Matthew Ingram and Mark Evans both wrote about a recent report out of the US as to who is clicking on […]

  4. […] blogosphere.  Noah Brier muses about whether Google has any incentive to improve search results.  Mathew Ingram wonders whether this odd demographic is carrying the entire web on their […]

  5. […] to anyone? As Mathew Ingram points out, anyone with a level of technological sophistication differentiates between ads and content and clicks […]

  6. That research was Mediapost analyzing it's own site, which would not make it representaive of the internet as a whole. Mediapost is a website for “media, marketing, and advertising professionals,” the exact type of people that know an ad when they see it and, hence, don't click on it. (Weird, because where does the low income, old, midwestern females fit into this site?).

    Outside of this group, there is a large number of people that really don't know an internet ad is an ad. Websites and blogs that appeal to this type of group (non internet marketers, non-bloggers, non-advertising professionals) see higher click-thrus.

    Even if you do a proper survey of non-internet-savvy folk and ask them if they click on internet ads, you still may not get accurate results because they would answer “no” to a question that asks “if they click on internet ads” if they do not even realize that an ad is an ad.

    • That's true, Tino — many people may not even be aware that they are
      clicking on an ad if it's a text link, which I guess helps to explain
      why Google is so critical of sites that use such links and try to
      disguise them as content.

  7. I know that video advertising marketing and link exchange is very important to small businesses. After getting booted off you tube.com ,there are sites like htt://adwido.com that gives you free link exchange,video uploads and even a simple web page that will link to your business site.

  8. I know that video advertising marketing and link exchange is very important to small businesses. After getting booted off you tube.com ,there are sites like htt://adwido.com that gives you free link exchange,video uploads and even a simple web page that will link to your business site.

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