By the end of March, clickers are expected to be worth $3.6 billion, a figure that’s likely to be eclipsed by the $3 trillion global market for online ads, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
That figure represents about 1% of the total online ad market, according the firm, and includes millions of dollars worth of clicks generated by websites that deliver ads to the right audiences, such as Amazon.
The number is expected to rise to $4 billion by the end (March 20) of this year.
In terms of the amount of money people are willing to spend, clicker traffic is expected in 2020 to be $9 billion, up from $7 billion in 2019.
That increase comes despite the fact that clickers, and the internet in general, is far from fully monetized.
The average clicker is worth $6.8 billion to the advertisers, according an industry report released in January, a number that’s more than twice as much as that of traditional print ads.
For every $1 spent on clickers ads, publishers and media publishers are expected in 2021 to earn about $2.6 in revenues, according a research firm that surveyed over 1,000 media companies.
“It’s going to be really hard for advertisers to make a living on clicker advertising without having to invest in other ways to get that click,” says Mark Z. Lee, founder of Zoho, a media analytics firm.
“There’s going be a lot of friction in the world of clicker advertisers.”
The online advertising business isn’t entirely automated, however, and some sites are opting to spend time in front of customers and in-person with them to better understand their preferences.
That approach, along with a shift away from traditional television, has also led to more organic clicks than in years past, according in a January report by analytics firm eMarketer.
The increase in clicks from traditional TV ads is largely a function of more people watching online video, which is expected, Lee says.
A recent survey by eMarketers found that consumers are increasingly interested in content from sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
“These are people who are watching content on these sites that have a huge amount of power to determine what they want to watch and what they don’t want to see,” Lee says, “so we’re seeing a lot more of these sites, YouTube and Facebook, getting more attention from advertisers.”
With the increase in online traffic, publishers are also trying to find ways to monetize the ads they produce.
In 2019, click-through rates for ad-supported sites increased to 9.6% from 8.3% in 2018, according eMarkers.
That means advertisers are able to earn more money per click, which means they are able in turn to offer their own ads, which can boost revenue for publishers.
“That’s going away,” Lee cautions.
“The way that advertisers are trying to reach audiences now is by advertising on content that they’re developing, and they’re trying to get more of that content to the people that they want.”
That could mean a combination of paid and free content.
A number of advertisers are already making some use of this approach, including Amazon, which in 2020 plans to spend $6 billion on ad-free content.
The company has also launched an ad-support service called Ads by Mail that helps publishers manage their advertising.
In the coming years, it could also see the emergence of ad-powered mobile apps and digital-only subscription-based offerings, such like Hulu Plus.
Lee also cautions that ad-based services may be at a disadvantage against online publishers.
For example, publishers need to offer a wide range of content on their platforms in order to get people to subscribe to their subscription services, he says.
That’s difficult to do with a free service that doesn’t offer a lot in the way of content.
“They may have a little bit more content, but not a lot,” he says, referring to paid-only services.
“So it’s a very tough environment to compete in.”
Publishers also face some competition from mobile platforms.
In 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission estimated that there were more than 200 mobile-based publishers on the market, including more than 50 in the U.S. There are also a number of other mobile publishers competing for attention, including Google’s Android mobile platform.
Google’s own ad platform, AdMob, is also becoming more important to publishers as it tries to compete with Facebook, Google’s biggest competitor.
According to Kantar’s latest research, mobile users in 2020 are expected for Facebook to have more than 9 million monthly active users, up significantly from 7 million in 2019, and from 4 million in 2018.
Facebook, meanwhile, reported that it has had an average monthly active user increase of about 200 million, from about 5 million in 2016.
“In some ways, mobile is a bit like a mirror image,” Lee adds.