One frustration many publishers have with Google AdSense is that clicks aren’t everything: People visiting business news sites to read news usually aren’t trying to figure out which DVD player to buy–so they don’t click on the DVD-player ads. But they see them. And in seeing them, a new study by Technology Review reports, they are “influenced.” Specifically, they remember the brands later whether or not they click on the ads.
Why does this matter? Because Google usually only pays publishers for clicks, not impressions (Google advertisers can elect to go with impression-based payments, but why would they ever do that? In the more popular PPC model, they get all those impressions for free). This is fine for shopping search engines and other sites where users visit specifically to click, but it hoses all those poor folks who make their livings via informing and entertaining. (via NY:MIEG and New York Times)
UPDATED: In the comments, Andrew Parker makes an excellent point. It still doesn’t feel right that the click is the measure of effectiveness on sites where users aren’t looking to click, but if Google still delivers more money, then who cares.