Web users shun banner ads research finds

Fewer than two in every 1,000 people actually click through banners

Surfers are not responding to Internet advertisements according to research published by Stanford University last week.

The research highlights the growing need for content-rich broadband Internet adverts according to analysts. The research called Eyetrack2000 has been conducted by The Poynter Institute at Stanford University.

The project found that almost half the people surveyed, view banner advertisements for less than a second and fewer than two in every 1,000 people actually click through. This means it is costing advertisers an average of £700 for every sale made via banner advertising.

Vice president of Internet advertising powerhouse Doubleclick remains undaunted by the new research. "Doubelclick served up 50bn ads on Web pages last year," he tells The Independent. "There were 250m times where people followed ads displayed on pages...That's a significant number of responses."

However, Peter Bradshaw, head of European Internet research at Merrill Lynch believes that a shake-up in Internet advertising is inevitable. "Click throughs have been coming down steadily and whether building brand awareness works has also been disputed," he says.

Bradshaw believes that broadband services will revolutionise Web advertising. "The key point to make is that things will be different when broadband comes along. Then you can deliver a much richer media message. Broadband is very important to advertisers."

According to Bradshaw, preliminary research indicates that many broadband video adverts see a click through rate of one in every ten page visitors. However he adds that, "it is not yet clear whether this is just because of the newness of the medium."

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