Clicking on an online display ad isn't the only way of responding to it, emphasizes a new iProspect report on a survey of Internet users.
While 31 percent of respondents to the survey (conducted online in January by Forrester Consulting) said they'd responded to such ads in the past six months by clicking on them, nearly as many—27 percent—said their initial response was to do a search for the product, brand or company. (iProspect is itself in the search-engine-marketing business.)
Another 21 percent of respondents said they "typed the company Web address into browser and navigated to site." Nine percent reported that they "investigated the product, brand or company through social media or message boards." Thirty-seven percent said they hadn't responded to such ads in the past six months.
As you'd expect, people were more likely to buy a product if they were familiar with the company and its wares before seeing a particular online display ad. Among those who said they'd responded to such an ad, 33 percent of those who were already familiar with the company or offering said they ended up buying the product, vs. 14 percent of those who were learning of the company or offering for the first time.
Another question in the survey asked respondents to describe any searches (using a search engine) "you may have eventually performed as a result of the ads you saw." A plurality, 38 percent, said they "performed related search and visited site from search results." Another 11 percent conducted a search "but did not click on any results."
Gladdening the hearts of the advertisers, 14 percent "performed related search, visited site, and purchased product."