In an upcoming press release on their Q2 2004 E-Commerce Site Trend Report, DoubleClick is reporting an increase in online purchasing behavior. DoubleClick is the dominant player in online ad-serving -- when you see an ad on your screen, chances are it's been put there by a DoubleClick server, often in response to a cookie that they put on your system earlier. While not advertisers themselves, or even an ad agency, they are in the business of encouraging clicks, tracking them, and analysing their impact.
There was a sense that with the growing saturation of online advertising, and the growth of ad-blocking software, the effectiveness of online advertising would decline. Seems like that is not happening yet. DoubleClick says that the e-commerce conversion rate is increasing, up 14 percent to a significant 5 percent of ad-clickers actually making a purchase.
Average order values are up too, by 15 percent. How big is the average online purchase? In Q2 2004, it was $134. Now averages are misleading because they don't tell you anything about volumes of purchase at different price points: a thousand people buying a DVD on Amazon plus one person buying a Ferrari on eBay will result in an average spend that is not representative of either segment. But as an aggregate trend it does indicate a greater level of economic activity online, and that's encouraging to online marketers.
If you have ever wondered about how closely your online behavior is being monitored by unseen eyes, here's some data to feed your paranoia. DoubleClick says that those visiting sites spend on average the same amount of time per visit as last quarter, but hit eleven pages, up from ten, in each visit. And they put items in the cart but abandon the cart without making an actual purchase 24 percent more often.
The conclusion is that online visitors to a site are behaving with less caution. More confident visitors who are better practiced at finding the stuff they are interested in make for a faster-moving target audience whose attention is harder to grab. Designing the selling functionality and visual pull of your site continues to be a growing challenge for e-marketers.