AICPA Study: Online marketers miss more than half of e-ad responses

U.S. spending on online advertising is growing at more than 20 percent per year and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15 percent through 2010. However, marketers are missing more than half of all responses. In fact, 55 percent of follow-up to online ads appears to occur up to 30 days after the ad has appeared, according to "Beyond the Click, Maximizing Advertising ROI in B2B E-Newsletters," a new online advertising study by the electronic media group of the American Institute of Certified Public and Accountants (AICPA) and Bay Street Group LLC.

The study found that financial professionals online were almost as likely as the direct clickers to save the ads for future reference (30% versus 34%). And they were actually more likely (19% versus 14%) than those who clicked on the ads to forward the advertising information to their colleagues or to make or recommend a purchase based on those ads. Further, marketers are misunderstanding the power of latent response, when targeting finance professionals.

The research also found that readers who were exposed to e-newsletter ads, but who did not click on them, could recall the ads almost as frequently as readers who did click on the ads (22% versus 28%).

"Content-driven e-newsletters for financial professionals seem to have much longer shelf lives and reader acceptance levels than e-mail 'blasts' and pop-up banner ads," said Hank Berkowitz, AICPA Director, Online Publishing & Business Development. "It's essential that marketers grasp the power of this dynamic new medium. Our study is a useful tool to assist them in understanding the new metrics so they can extend their reach."

Methodology

Researchers sent online surveys to more than 2,000 readers of the AICPA's most widely read online e-newsletter, the CPA Insider, 180,000 weekly readers. Approximately half of the respondents were those who had clicked on banner advertisements in the CPA Insider e-newsletter during the study. The other half of survey recipients were readers who had been exposed to the ads, but who had not clicked on them directly - i.e.: readers who had opened an issue of the e-newsletter that contained measured ads, and further, who had clicked on articles (or other ads) in that issue that were adjacent the measured ads, but who had not actually clicked on the specific ads they were asked to evaluate.

You can view the executive summary, which includes additional notes on the research and the "Top 10 Recommendations to Marketers."

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