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Media and Communications

“Efficiency and sustainability of Online Advertising”

“Efficiency and sustainability of Online Advertising”


Efficiency and sustainability of online advertising and I call Ege Gurmericliler and Clement Francis to join me (Clement) Good evening, In our study, we have asked ourselves what are the true aspects that define the efficiency of online advertising and if these online advertisemets can become the future of advertising Today we can see that there are more and more internet users over the world namely 3,7 billions of internet users in 2016 and what better way to advertise than by doing so on an increasingly popular platform Moreover, there is a decrease in the use of “traditional” platforms like television or radio. We noticed that in the U.S alone there has been an important decrease in the use of these platform by teenagers in the last 4 years. Another considerable asset of online ads is that we can target our audience, namely by looking at what people like, which websites they visit, their online purchase history or even information that we share on social media. After the arrival of targeted ads, the number of clicks on ads has increased by a factor of 6,7. Besides, online ads are cheap. More than 70 times cheaper than tradiitonal platforms. And finally online ads are very easy to access. A simple click is enough to get directed to the promoted page, which isn’t the case on traditional platforms. However, there are also several constraints to online ads, namely with the development of botnets which have caused, for example in 2015, a loss of more than $6,3 billion to companies. This is because they click on ads automatically and hence distort any expected results. And finally, some ads can also cause privacy concerns, because they can redirect us towards malicious websites which can sometimes use our private data against our will. All these factors irritate internet users, which can be noticed with the increasing use of ad blockers. (Ege) Although online ads have multiple interesting assets as Clement said, None of the sources during our research have given us information regarding the behavior of a user after having clicked on an online ad. A website would surely want to have more clicks and more visitors, but its the main goal would be to increase its client-base or active user-base. To check that, we have decided to build an experiment in order to measure the engagement of a user when visiting a promoted webpage. We created an advertisement (“click here to get a free beer”) that we distributed in the form of flyers on the EPFL campus and ad banners on Facebook (targeted towards EPFL students). Our goal was to attract as many EPFL students as possible on our website. Once arrived on our webpage the student would face a survey. But he wouldn’t know that completing that one survey wasn’t enough to get the free beer. He had to complete 6 different surveys which followed one another. Since the student didn’t know how many surveys he had to complete, we measured his engagement by looking at the number of surveys he completed. Looking at our results: for the same amount of money invested, we received a similar number of visits on our webpage. In other words, for the same money paid on flyer printing/distribution and on buying Facebook Ads space, we got the same number of visitors from both sides. However, if our goal was to attract people who are likely to engage (in our case, completing surveys) then flyers, or traditional platforms, were the best option. Among the 58 participants coming from the flyer ads, 52 have completed at least 1 survey versus 33 over 61 on Facebook. In other words, nearly half of the visitors coming from Facebook have left our page without even completing the first survey. Well, several reasons can justify the success of flyers… Maybe the more “personal” touch of a flyer incited people to engage more. Or maybe having to get a phone out of your pocket and scanning a QR code, or typing a URL, eliminated people who were initially not motivated enough We could also call Facebook results into question… Maybe some of the visitors were botnets, as Clement mentioned in which case our results would be flawed. Perhaps some of the people we targeted couldn’t see the ad because they used ad blockers at the moment of our campaign. And finally, maybe some didn’t want to continue the experiment because they were afraid of catching viruses or malwares. All of these possibilities cause serious issues to online ads today. And when we ask ourselves again “can online ads ensure the future of advertising?”. We are now more skeptical. Thank you.

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