Adtech is reporting that click through rates for banner ads are dropping:
ADTECH, global providers of ad server technology has today revealed the results of its latest browser analysis and has revealed that just two out of a thousand viewed banners trigger a reaction from European Internet users. The current click-through rate of 0.18 per cent is the lowest since ADTECH started banner analyses in 2004. Then, the average was 0.33 per cent.
This isn't a huge surprise - I can't recall (other than by accident) the last time I so much as looked at a banner ad, much less clicked through one. The entire model is shifting to things like Google's AdSense, which tries to push up ads that you might actually be interested in (although even there, I wouldn't be surprised if click through rates are low and dropping).
What advertisers really need is "just in time information" - an ad for a product at the point that I'm looking for to buy something. AdSense delivers some of that - but the thinking in some parts of the industry is still reflective of the TV "broadcast model":
Freytag continued: “The decreasing numbers overall in my opinion are due to the fact that the users have increasingly gotten used to online advertising during the last years. Banners are now commonplace on the Internet. New formats, such as video ads are needed to draw attention and generate clicks. Layer and Leaderboards in contrast have a high reminder potential even beyond the Web.”
That's the kind of thinking that leads to those cover up Flash ads (is there anything more annoying on the web right now?). I think there's going to be a lot more suffering in this sector before the old-line advertising bromides die off.