I did something very strange the other day. I clicked on a banner. Now with click through rates hovering around 0.2% on a so so day and the fact that we know there are some habitual clickers (god knows why) and some accidental clickers like my children (god knows where to). I think it is something to be remarked on. I don't click is becoming the modern equivalent of i don't watch ads.
Now I have to fess up. It was on a business site and the banner was taking me to a sister publication so you could argue it was a button or a link dressed up as a banner. So the only time i have clicked on a banner is in a contextual environment. I am not saying network buys don't cost in. Network buys clearly make sense for mass market products and awareness objectives but for specialist categories and b2b you may be better off looking at specialist networks or finding different ways to spend your money, like sponsored email, smarter search, links and buttons. Focussing on those people in the market mood. Never the less it still feels odd that this great thing the internet is premised on its ability to serve up relevant content but we still deliver marketing messages on a semi random basis.
The easy counter argument to this is that brands do invest in network display campaigns because it works; but you would be assuming that they can track activity through to sale. You would be surprised how few brands do this as well as they profess to.
Do you click?