Advertising Lies: “Engaged Audience” In Advertising

Author: Gab Goldenberg

The purpose of advertising is defeated by “engaged” audiences. I came across an old advertising saw in Vanessa Fox’s recent article about the Food Network vs AllRecipes traffic battle, namely that advertisers want an engaged audience. That’s idiotic.


Engaged audiences don't click.

Ask any AdSense publisher who clicks his ads most, and you'll hear that search engine traffic is great. Heck, Chiticka has an ad product exclusively dedicated to monetizing publishers' traffic earned from SEO.

Within blackhat SEO, it's also known that providing a poor user experience - where the item sought for in the search isn't present on the landing page - generates high AdSense clickthrough rates. The AdSense block is the most relevant thing on the page - it best matches the keywords searched for, and is the best next step for the visitor. So they click.

Compare that to direct traffic. People coming to read content are the MOST banner blind visitors within a website's audience. Engaged audiences don't give a damn about the ads. They ignore them the most - they're used to the ad slots, have seen them several times already...

Brand advertisers supposedly want these audiences because they're there for the content, therefore are the most likely to be interested in the topic. OK, fair enough - lots of search traffic is off topic to a site's core topic, in contrast to the direct traffic. But that doesn't help much if those people are ignoring the ads.

The best solution in such cases is social media - you're not ignored, because you're not broadcasting at your target [direct, engaged] audience, but speaking to them personally. Offering recipes, chatting with them on Twitter etc.


Sidebar Story


  1. I totally agree Gab. My experience is limited but this has held true 100% of the time.

    Comment by Dan - June 26, 2011 @ 6:06pm
  2. Thanks for sharing Dan! Where's your experience from?

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 28, 2011 @ 5:22pm

Leave a Reply