It’s been over 15 years since the web saw it’s first banner. There’s much dispute over what the first web banner actually was and on what website it was displayed on. The majority of articles on the web suggest that the first banner ever was AT&T‘s which first appeared on HotWired wasy back in 1994. WikiPedia will disagree with this, but who cares really?

The fact is that when banner adverts first appeared on our computer screens they saw massive click-through rates. Within a few years though, the best performing banner ads were averaging 1.5% CTR. Nowadays, you’d be lucky to get 0.8% CTR on your average ad.

World's First Web Banner
World’s First Banner Ad

It’s not surprising that we became immune to these ads, they were generally blanket bombing TV like adverts that had no relevance to you or your daily life. We even quickly saw plugins for our browsers that eliminated the need to view these unsightly adverts. Though sometimes they are designed to bring us joy and festive mood, like happy holidays banner for Christmas.

Then along came Google Adwords – new, different, unique and they even showed adverts related to what we were searching for.  A lot of people who aren’t savvy with computers or the Internet, still don’t realise Google Adwords are paid adverts from companies chasing your business. Those that do realise they are ads openly admit to not clicking on them.

HitWise report today that in the the 4 weeks leading up to the 9th of May, click-through rates have dropped by 26% compared to the same time last year.

There are many factors that could of course have led to this. The most obvious one is the fact that we are in the midst of a recession, hence less money around to spend, so advertisers are reducing their spend.

The next reasons could be the fact that advertisers are more strategic than they have ever been with their Google Adwords campaigns. By understanding Google Adwords and how it works, it’s a lot easier to reduce your monthly spend by getting rid of extra wastage caused by badly constructed Adwords campaigns.

And then of course the not so obvious… Could we be becoming immune to Google’s Sponsored ads? Is everyone finally coping on that Google Adwords are in fact advertisements, just like we quickly did with banner ads?

I would imagine it’s a combination of all 3. I’ve said for quite sometime now that Google needs to quickly look at their Adwords model (which they constantly are) and see how they can improve it to make sure the general public doesn’t get bored with it.

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