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Three Facts You Never Would Have Guessed About Online Marketing

Marketing studies and statistics so often quantify or establish facts that many in the industry already suspected or had anecdotal backing. Email marketing messages with a social sharing option generate higher click through rates than emails without these features! Men will shop if high-tech coupons are dangled in front of them!

Following are recent findings from separate studies that defy conventional wisdom.

Consumers Learn to Like Targeted Ads

Internet users do prefer targeted online ads. However the right context is necessary - they will likely opt for targeted advertising when asked to make real-world, value-for-value trade-offs, such as free access to Internet content, according to a survey by PreferenceCentral. The research also found that attitudes and preferences significantly shift when consumers educated about behavioral targeting or when they are offered ways to control their exposure to these ads.

These studies differed from previous ones, including last year’s Annenberg-Berkley survey "Americans Reject Tailored Advertising". The reason for the difference, PreferenceCentral said, is that these surveys asked single-option questions. PreferenceCentral generated similar results as those reported in the Annenberg-Berkley study when it did so as well - by asking simple, single-option questions only a minority of respondents indicated that they wanted to receive tailored online ads. However, while past researchers concluded that the reason behind consumers' negative response was privacy concerns, the PreferenceCentral study probed further and found that their primary reason was a dislike for annoying online ads, not privacy concerns.

Addicted to CTRs

Another study illustrated that it is a mistake to focus on click-through rates when seeking to raise brand awareness. Of course the industry knows that an over-emphasis on CTRs is not smart; this study, however, goes beyond that simple truism - not only does it not work but it also can actually drive down ad recall and in the case of movies and TV shows, reduce intent to view. That is according to the findings of "Online Brand Optimization: Metrics That Matter and How to Use Them to Effectively Change Campaign Outcomes," a white paper produced by Lotame.

"Everyone in this business knows CTR is way overvalued," said Lotame CEO Andy Monfried. "But a lot of marketers are addicted to it, because measuring CTR is easy, and they don't know what else to track."

Digital Migration Hurts Traditional Media Revenues More than Expected

The ongoing migration to digital media is damaging traditional media categories more than expected, according to a new white paper from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. (via MarketingCharts).  The annual decline in 2009 revenues in several traditional media categories was more severe than originally forecast, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers research. Most striking was the decline in out-of-home revenues, which fell approximately 13% in 2009, compared to a forecast of about 7%. In addition, radio revenues declined about 9%, compared to an approximately 7% forecast.

The other two media categories which had a 2009 revenue decline more severe than originally predicted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers were newspaper publishing (approximately 12% compared to a forecast of slightly more than 10%) and consumer magazine publishing (about 11% compared to a forecast of about 9%).

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