Online advertising continues to be an appalling ineffective way to get customers to your site, according to research published by Google's Doubleclick division last year.

The click thru rate for online ads in Australia is a pathetic 0.07 %.

Let me put that another way:

- that's a 99.93% failure rate.

Of every 1,000 people who see your ad, only seven will click on it.

These figures reveal yet again the ugly truth about online ads.

Of course Google took the “empowering interpretation” that instead of the glass being 99.93% empty, it was 0.03% full.

Well, you could die of thirst trying to drink from that glass.

Still Is, and Always Has Been, Impotent

What's even worse, is that according to Google click thru rates are consistently lower for the past 12 months than for the corresponding period for the preceding year. In other words online ads are becoming even less effective.

I've been keeping an eye on the effectiveness of online advertising for over 10 years, and I've seen countless reports in that time that all reveal the same incredibly low click thru rate.

In other words, we just haven't got any better at it despite all the money being spent on it.

The Google report looked at results from large volume campaigns in over 20 countries around the world including Australia, the USA, Europe and Asia. The results were more or less consistent across all countries.

But Size Does Matter

It's not all bad news; the report also shows that bigger ads can be many times more effective than smaller ads, and being interactive also helps performance.

But really, we're still talking less than 1%.

All you're doing is using a bigger version of the same ineffective tool for the same unsatisfactory result.

So Should I Use Online Advertising?

For small business, probably not, there are much more effective ways to spend your marketing dollar, and I've previously listed the top five other things you can do here.

Every week I hear horror stories of small companies who have spent a small fortune on online advertising for no result. Of course there are exceptions, small businesses that have manged to get good results.

However, if you're just starting out with online marketing, then I wouldn't start with online advertising.

For medium to large organisations, then you probably should use it as part of your overall marketing mix. In general it will bring in around 10% of your revenue, but it will also be the most expensive of your marketing efforts, so the return on investment can be very low.

There are also other valid business reasons why you would want to use online advertising, but I won't go into them here.

Get Professional Help

As with most things, it really pays to get professional help from someone who knows what they are doing. Not always easy to find such people in the online world I know, snake oil is everywhere.

Download the Google Doubleclick Report here.

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