Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why Web Advertising Doesn’t Work

There is a simple reason why web advertising doesn’t work.

The web isn’t TV.  What do I mean by this?

On the web, the marketer no longer controls the commercial terms of engagement.  The user does.

What does this mean?  Size doesn’t matter. The fact that Facebook will soon reach one billion users is of little importance.  Why?  Because we, the user, are in control.  So it’s as easy for each one of us to avoid advertising online as it is for one billion of us.

Which is what appears to be happening.

Size doesn’t matter because control trumps size.

Now, back to the idea that the web isn’t TV.  Those that create ads for a living don’t seem to recognize this.  The reason is that they keep creating advertising to run online that is identical to advertising that runs on air.

Here’s the deal.  Content must be created in context of control.   When the user/viewer controls the commercial terms of engagement, they must be engaged differently.

Until that happens, web advertising won’t work.

And even when it does work, effectiveness won’t be based on how many interact with the ad.  It will be based on how long people interact with the ad for.

Time spent with an ad—which is the same as time spent with the brand—scales online.  Impressions become less impressive as reach becomes less relevant.

Which is why it’s not surprising that the Facebook stock is doing what it’s doing.

Size, the only thing Facebook had going for it, is like a woman’s breasts.  Big draws attention.

But when we probe a little deeper, we realize that, although big, there is nothing real about them.

Not unlike Facebook’s claim to remake how advertising works.


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  2. antiadvertz11:36 AM

    unlike television with advertising, the user is in far more control. the user is on their selected page for a certain purpose. the last thing they want is to suddenly have no option but no be forcefed a random video or image, or wait a xx number of seconds before they get to see what they intended. this is very common on youtube-when a video advert starts to run, I will always scroll down so I dont have to watch it, then scroll back up and watch what I intended. this is surely proof that internet advertising is a massive waste of money as a result for those producing it, hoping to gain customers. it simply doesnt work-especially when you consider the possible addition of internet programs or browser add-ons being able to hide all adverts-whether they are hiding pop up images or skipping video ads for you. only the user will benefit

  3. Anonymous10:36 AM

    I have never, ever clicked on a link for web advertising. I so miss good ol print ads that came in the newspaper. We decided like most people anymore, that we didn't need to get the newspaper anymore.

    Now, I never know what is on sale at my local department store or grocery store or good travel deals from my local airport etc. I know, I know, I can go online to each of the individual websites, and fill out all of thier nusiance forms, pick out a login name, a password with minimum of 8 or 9 characters, using one capital letter, 5 letters, 3 numbers, agree to letting them sell my information to the highest bidder, and any other advertising firm of choice, so they can spam me by phone or email, blah, blah,blah, then trying to remember all of that crap. Just not worth my time nor the aggrevation

    There is one nice benefit to not knowing what is on sale, I certainly do not spend as much money! Maybe not so great for the economy though. ;)

  4. Anonymous5:13 AM

    Even in the early days when I didnt actually know (or couldnt) remove those pop up ads, I never clicked on them then, and never will! For adverts that force you to watch (eg before your video starts) I deliberately look away. It somehow feels more intrusive than regular tv. What a waste of money companies must spend, in a place where we feel like we have control. I fear for advertising in future on the latest tv sets, when everything on it feels more at the complete control of the user

  5. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Actually, Nielson agrees that web advertising doesn't work... except for classified advertising on the web, which they say works very well and has a bright future.