Advertising on the Web: Is There Response before Click-Through?

Nigel Hollis and Rex Briggs

Since advertising on the World Wide Web began in 1994, marketers have asked the same question they ask of all advertising in any media: Does it work? More specifically, do banner ads (those small, hyperlinked pixel displays popping up on public Web sites) actually provide a vehicle for effective commercial communication? As marketers are projected to spend billions of dollars on Web advertising in the next few years, this question becomes increasingly important.

Until now, the only available answer has been partial at best. The accepted wisdom suggests that, yes, ad banners do work as direct marketing vehicles - but only when viewers click on them for transport to the advertiser's own Web site, where a wide range of customized marketing processes begins.