A study by ComScore, Tacoda (behavioural ad network) and Starcom has turned up some not wholly unexpected results regarding the profile of users who are frequent ad clickers in the U.S. online population.

It turns out that measuring your banner campaigns performance on click through rates may not actually signify brand engagement to the level that you’ve been expecting.

There is a small group of consumers out there who account for the vast majority of all banner click throughs. These heavy handed individuals make up just 6% of the online population in the U.S. and yet they account for 50% of all display ad clicks. Worse still, this small group is not fully representative of the public at large, rather it is made up on predominantly users between the ages 25-44 and with a household income of less than $40k. These people spend a lot more time online than the rest of the internet population but at the same time their spending online does not proportionately reflect this heavy usage.

What does this mean for marketers? Well, it could suggest that good click through rates do not correlate strongly with good brand awareness for the ads subject.

Time to diversify! Banners have their place, best used as a response mechanism to attempt to acquire or convert users, and that means best measured for effectiveness using other metrics than click throughs. Conversion rate and acquisition numbers are a far more accurate measure of success. A brand specific measure may prove to be engagement and their are now ways to measure engagement with banners and online adverts. Diversifying your online spend into other mediums is key, making sure you are represented well in search, more viral types of advertising and offline will have a better overall effect on your brand equity.

It’s up to web people to educate your marketing departments, many of you will have understood or suspected this for a long time!