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Issue 2001-10 Wednesday, June 20, 2001









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  How efficient do pop-up windows and other "blind" advertising campaigns really prove to be?  

In the United-States, X10.com web site managed, in just a few months, to become part of the top five American web sites in terms of traffic, beating even Amazon.com.

This is how the site would thus have managed to capture over 28 million individual users!

The key to this traffic: a pop-up window that appears on most biggest American web sites such as MSNB.com or even Weather.com. But we must also keep in mind the fact that this site is also benefiting from the fall-off that is presently taking place in the purchase of online advertising space and, as a result, managed to negotiate cheaper prices than only a few months ago…

But this is not the main point: among those 28 million individual users, how many were really converted to becoming consumers?

Max Kalehoff, a Media Metrix analyst, confirms these figures concerning the traffic of visitors that was measured by Media Metrix, but does not provide any other information such as: the number of visits per visitor, the average time that is spent on the site and neither does he give any other indication that might help to further qualify the nature of the on-line search of these users who see pop-up windows on X10.com.


This phenomenon, which consists in generating traffic without any specific qualification leaves many experts, myself included, rather dubious as to the chances of success, in the long term, of these great volume-advertising campaigns that do not aim any specific type of customers.

In France, we saw two similar attempts at generating traffic without any specific qualification in two different sectors of activity: brokering online and eTourism.

Two sites distinguished themselves to that matter: bluebourse.com and bourse-des-voyages.com.

Both these sites managed to become part of the top 5, in terms of traffic generated expressed in number of visitors, in their respective sectors of activity, by investing massively in advertising campaigns, mainly on games web sites and online lottery web sites.

Thanks to the behavioural data provided by BVA TFC Research concerning users who access the Internet both from work and from home, we followed this specific Internet population for a few months, on both these receiving web sites.

It seems that results are only just "average" for the moment. Indeed, in both cases, Internet users who visited bluebourse.com and bourse-des-voyages.com appear to be users who are not used to surfing on online brokering web sites or eTourism web sites.

This was confirmed by the very low surf-covering rate between visitors generated on bluebourse.com and bourse-des-voyages.com but also on the other web sites that are part of their competitive sector.

This would mean that these sites would have attempted to "convert" a new population of users in online sectors that were not part of their usual consumer sector.

But this attempt can only succeed if the cost generated to create such unqualified traffic actually manages to convert enough visitors into buyers to reach equilibrium.

Indeed, it often proves rather difficult to modify the way users surf and it requires much more time than one thinks.

Please be aware that the behavioural data concerning these two sites, provided by the BVA TFC Research company, indicate that most users that are "sent" by games web sites and online lottery web sites on bluebourse.com and bourse-des-voyages.com go back instantly to games and online lottery web sites after they visited these two sites….

It is ok to generate traffic but one should always keep in mind the following question: at what cost and for what return on investment?

Source : Ecommerce Times

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