Google, Share Prices and Ads

Seeing Google announce quarterly earnings nearly triple their results for the same quarter of last year (they now have an annual revenue of $10 billion, almost entirely from selling ads), it suddenly occurred to me that I have never once deliberately clicked on one of their ads. Sure, I see them often enough, and every once in a while I'll accidentally click on one just because my mouse is in the wrong place, but they're all just noise to me - they don't even enter my consciousness. It goes without saying that I've never purchased anything as a direct result of a Google ad either. This is nothing to do with Google itself either: I'd make the same claim of other internet ad services too.

There's no huge overarching point to this entry; I just wondered out of sheer curiosity whether I was just an oddball anomaly in the statistics, or whether I'm actually in the majority and am pointing out the Emperor's New Clothes. Have you ever deliberately clicked through or even bought something as a result of an internet ad? What percentage of your ad clicks are deliberate versus accidental? If you do click on ads, what catches your eye?

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I click Google ads when I’m searching for a specific item/company, and the ad for their URL is at the top ("sponsored links"). Also, there are some times where the results in the ads seem much more relevant than the actual search results (again looking for companies or a specific commercial item).

  2. Anonymous says:

    I never click on them either.

    Of course even if the clickers are a minority, it’s still worthwhile to the advertisers if they happen to be a numerically large minority.

    Like the cretins who make spam worth the spammers’ effort (I’m not implying of course that people who click on Google ads are also cretins).

  3. BobStrogg says:

    I’m the same; I just subconsciously filter them out now (even those annoying sites where you need to scroll through some google ads to get to the content).  Fortunately someone somewhere must be dork enough to click them, making someone somewhere lots of cash :o)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Agreed mate. I’ve clicked through on a few ads that have been interesting, but never been converted through to a sale. Not once, for anyone, in I don’t know, 8 years or so.

    It escapes me how the business model is sustained. Advertising effectiveness is a tough metric, like sowing a seed in your brain which later, after seeing it on billboards and TV, might convert to $. But billboards, TV, and humour are so much more memorable than google ads, bits of unremarkable text on the peripheral of your focus. Still, they will always be there, squeezed in where space is limited, where a big flash or WPF/E ad is not practical. It can be (though not always) fairly cheap, the rest is economies of scale. Wish I could have afforded google shares 😉

  5. Anonymous says:

    At my last day job we saw 20% conversion rates from google adsense.  Because of that we could pay $5 per click and wished we could buy more!

    Trust me, every one is winning with adsense.  It’s better than any other advertising in existance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have been wondering for when the myth of Internet Advertising is going to crumble to dust. My personal exposure-to-click ratio is 400,000 to 1, or 6.02 x 10²³ to 1 if you count spam emails.  I’m not as extreme as you, though; I think I bought something through a Google ad once.  

    I do make it a point never to click an offensive ad (like "Intellitext" hovertising), even if it’s for free shampoo samples…I’ll find another way.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m the same. I have only once clicked on something deliberately – but I still didn’t buy the product. I did wonder if as techies we have less problem finding what we want.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great topic, Tim! I think you and I are in the minority here. And I think that probably goes for regular advertising too. I mean, do you watch TV ads anymore, now that you’re probably using Media Center to timeshift? Do you notice ads in magazines at all?

    I’ve pretty much tuned all that noise out, but a lot of people must not be doing that. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if it turned out that advertising didn’t work on most people? If everybody saw through the psychological manipulation that goes on and only bought what they really need for survival, some convenience and a little, modest luxury? The entire American economy would collapse, I think.

    Maybe it has something to do with how well people are educated, and perhaps also whther you’ve been taught media-literacy and ad analysis. I think more of that goes on in Europe than the U.S. I know that I learned a lot in high-school about how ads use manipulation to get you to buy. Here in the U.S. I’d probably have been taught how to manipulate instead.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never clicked them and, actually, Opera’s content-blocking feature can be used to quite nicely sidestep the script entirely – I don’t see them at all for the majority of my browsing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I click on a google-sponsored advertisement probably once a week, on average, but only on highly-targeted search results.  I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on the generic ebay or ads.

    Last week it was USB-driven color LCD/LED displays.  I didn’t end up buying as it was amusingly cheaper to buy a 15 inch LCD monitor than the USB device!  

  11. TheVillain9 says:

    I actually just started to click on them because google makes so much money off them, I figured these links must be somewhat helpful. Plus I figure its a good way for me to increase google profits and that hopefully gets reflected in the stock price…which i might add i own a few shares of.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Google has an awesome deal when it comes to my surfing behavior.  When I’m not looking to buy something, or not trying to research prices, I subconsciously tune out the ads.  I only look at them when I’m actually looking for a product or trying to price things out.  I’ve bought several things after clicking on a Google ad, though the ads always are on a Google search result page, never on other sites where they have ads (external websites with google ads or gmail or anything).

  13. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if this is ethical or not. But sometimes I have clicked ads when I find good content on a free site…to give some kind of contribution to the site owner. If Microsoft’s PayPoints comes up and offers a way to give money in small sums, I would use that. Till then its Google Ads 🙂

  14. Anonymous says:

    I suspect there’s an uptake process. Once you’ve found a good product or vendor through an ad, you are a lot more likely to click them in the future. They are definitely best for targeted searches. E.g. I needed some solar panels, and found a good vendor with outstanding prices via Google. The more specialized the product or vendor, the better.

  15. Anonymous says:

    > Fortunately someone somewhere must be dork enough to click them, making someone somewhere lots of cash 😮

    Bob, those "dorks" are paying for the content you’re reading.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never clicked on one unless I was searching for something and it looked relavent.  I certainly can’t remember clicking on one in the last year.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Same – never click on them and am wondering when the music stops and the "internet advertising" bubble bursts.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am sure that if it was Microsoft AdSense you woudn’t be that fussy… If they are doing all that money it means actually that people don’t mind that much. Do you also avoid looking at billboards in general? If so, you might be on the wrong planet.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have never ever purchased or even clicked on a google ad.  I am the same, I just automatically filter it out.

    So, are we just odd ducks or what?

    And for the record, I do avoid looking at billboards – I’m too busy focusing on the road, where my eyes should be. :))

  20. Anonymous says:

    Internet ads are something I never notice, and I spend a lot of time surfing. Ads are like wallpaper .. you don’t really notice the design, only that they are there.

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