Billions have been invested on Internet Ad Serving Networks and Companies. This was supposed to be Advertising Nirvana. That Behavioral and Demographic Targeting would reduce Wastage and enable Ad Networks to serve relevant Ads to people. But has this been achieved? Obviously based on the research the answer is no. Search actually was the answer not ad servers.
Why is this? Agencies and Marketers spend millions on research. People do enjoy advertising to learn about new products and services and promotions. They do state they wish more of it was relevant. So what is the problem? Very simple traditional branding doesn’t excite anyone. Seeing a banner ad online or a billboard somewhere that just says Drink Coke means nothing even to a thirsty person. People don’t like it when advertising permeates everything they do. They see Ads everywhere all the time as it is. So why should they click through a banner Ad unless it states clearly some benefit. Specifically something free, a coupon, sale, or deal, or a new product being launched that interests them. Most Digital Advertising does not offer any of these things. Digital Agency’s have sold Brands that they need to put their name out there online because the Ad Serving Networks and Digital Agencies have a vested interest in this even if the ROI and Click Through Rate is completely pitiful. Yet Digital as a gateway to a website when successful is more powerful than a 30 second commercial spot because of unlimited time and creative options!
On top of all this open software communities like Mozilla not only created an incredible Web browser with Firefox, the Ad Networks had the double whammy of the creation of Ad Blocker Plus which prevents the ads from showing up on the browser. And malicious software/viruses led to the creation of No Scripts software. I specifically must turn on scripts for every single new website and I have never activated any of the Ad Networks.
So with me as an example there is an ROI of pretty much Zero. When I want/need something I search or go directly to the company I am seeking. When I want info on a Brand I type in the Brand not the category. And Ad Blocker Plus actually blocks Google Ad Words results!
Now I know you cry foul. That I am blocking Ads that support the free content that I consume and that statement is correct. But Brands don’t force anyone to watch commercials on TV or Cable or look at Billboards or Print Ads. So why should I?
Now the worst kicker of all. I do feel guilty so for certain websites that I feel need support like Newspapers (NY Times, LA Times, Huffington Post, and the Economist and a few others) I have disabled AD Blocker Plus! And not only that I specifically click on Ads so that these businesses can make money equivalent to what the subscription rate is or more! And of course my clicks cost the Brands who’s Ad it is money. Yet they make zero money from me. On the Economist I click on Ads from Siemens, Lloyds, Oracle, IBM, Shell, BP all the time yet give them no business because I am not interested in their message, and only interested in supporting the Economist.
So is Traditional Digital Over rated and Over Hyped? I truly feel paid content/technology is really the way to go for many digital brands and some are starting to get a clue such as the Wall Street Journal. The Financial Times has been charging for a long time is is very profitable. People will pay for quality content. Ad Networks and Brands be damned. I pay 6.95 a month for a radio show from Premier Networks that I listen to online time shifted commercial free (yet I would still pay even with the commercials because the content is that good!)