The Future of Advertising: Ads are Suffocating the Web

My Children tell me that inventing banner ad is like inventing smallpox. J.McCambley (inventor of the banner ad)

How many of people woke up today morning saying: “I so wish to see an advertisement now ?”

Probably none, but why then marketing departments come to work and say “let’s make another advertisement.”

Ten years ago, idealists were speaking about “fight against the machine” and the “web needs to remain free.” However, it seems that battle is over, as distracting pop-ups and animated advertising are everywhere.

For almost 20 years, the digital advertising business has symptoms of sociopathic behavior, spreading ruthlessly and without care for users, undermining points of business and making mad anyone in its path.

Different viewability standards create ads impossible to view, or makes for people impossible to see anything than the ads.

Two currently biggest issues are ad blocking which is just reflex of audience growing disgusted with an industry that shows almost no regards to people needs and desires.

The second issue is the fact that network effects tend to create only monopolies. Advertisement industry depends mostly on two largest: Facebook and Google. Their combined share of online ad budgets ranges from 60–75 %.

Monopole behavior is only going to get more dramatic. Reports show that both Facebook and Google manage to grab ¾ of all growth in digital advertising. Monopoly, even when divided between two companies, is not supporting competition, transparency, and innovation.

British economist and former adviser to the U.K. Treasury Diane Coyle names Google and Facebook’s monopoly as difficult to challenge or compete in future years.

This terrible situation that society is in now derives marketers fears of change and their dedicated devotion to the good old days of traditional marketing.

Marketers dedicated keeping the glory of good old days fail to understand complexity in which digital marketing is different from leaflets, TV, large posters, other, and in a way which real people (previously called “customers”) use it.

This issue arrives from marketers fail to understand the technical complexity of placing the advertising on web and details of buying digital media space, limitations of retargeting and technological possibilities of ad-serving platforms, users defended privacy and security.

Agencies and brands also fail to see that digital advertising requires a creative approach that is opposite to sales messages of the traditional ads.

When brands on the web ask users “how can we help you” instead of “what can we sell to you” then they will see victory. However, most advertisers do not know how to be helpful.

Content marketers are leading the attack on online ads from the time that first banners appeared, pushing the idea that only way for brands to use the web is to provide to users valuable, useful content. This basic good idea got corrupted once when big advertising stepped into the picture.

After some time, useful content was replaced by points which big traditional marketing agencies understand only: reach and frequency. They pushed back same ads as were on TV, printed and other media for decades before: a good old fashioned sales messages.

If ads would work on the web, then ad blockers would not be made. No matter at ads, all media is moving to digital, which is giving us sign there will be nowhere else where advertising can go anymore.

Where will ads go after all media moves to digital? Ad industry failed to answer this for last two decades. In the process, they created opportunities for content marketers who own the only solution for marketing’s future.

Content marketing provides guaranteed approach to transform commercials to content valued by web users which attract their attention and works with different digital platforms.

The long made promise of web ads as low cost and reliable source of influence on the public has failed.

No matter users are apparently being bothered by the current system of adds on the web, there is no visible desire of change in the marketing industry. Marketing creators should realize that quality is more important than quantity.

Steps to digital dignity and progress

If you wish to step into future of advertising and stop suffocating web with ads, you will find bellow few basic steps for a start.

Move advertising to content marketers

The most important step would be to give your marketing and advertising activities to content marketers as they will find a way to provide value to people even through marketing messages.

Become accountable

Digital agencies are mostly doing what clients demand from them. So all the blame on unsound practices is generated from clients who put money behind their requests. Only a company/brand can create proper planning, creating and executing digital awareness campaign.

Stop attacking audience

Be aware users do not wake up in the morning with the idea to see your ads, and a good idea is not to prevent users from doing what they intended to do on the web with your ads.

Take key steps in stopping to irritate users (previously known as customers) with your Web ads. Do not make not needed distractions using animations and flashy promises. Make questions to your team is a there better way to attract attention, and isn’t the current way bringing you negative attention.

Digital-First Approach

Make organizational changes to integrate all your marketing efforts with implementing the Digital-First approach.

Repeating in digital marketing your TV commercials or leaflets is a suicidal move. Playing your latest TV commercial or sales action on your company web page is not going to work. The organizational transformation will be simple but not easy.

Proper targeting

Develop a brand-desired list of sites and media where you would like to be. Do not try to be everywhere.

Make sure your digital agency has the list and is making sure that your content is displayed on only approved sites.

Stop cutting digital agency fees

Simple: stop cutting digital agency fees, or soon you will have reputation bringing you to the point of not being able to have proper agency anymore.

Most likely agencies will stop giving you proposals of improvement (as they will come with an increased cost) and will focus on keeping contracts, knowing that your only interest is low –cost.

Create valuable and useful content

Do not create stories about yourself or your latest achievements in sales as it will not be enough. The audience has the power to block such content. The idea behind web a few decades ago was to make communication easier.

Ask yourself “how can we help to people ?” developed on real experiences of your company helping people.

Giving people repetitive sales messages is not going to work, as digital media is different from traditional media.

The idea behind ads is to provide earnings to publisher and advertiser, while publishers goals are not to provide good user experience and are solely targeting earnings. People can prevent the display of ads. If publishers of ads do not start providing useful content instead of ads, there will be less and fewer customers. Soon ads should become less suffocating and smarter. Moreover, in case they do not, there is always ad blocker.

Where You Can Find Me

  • LinkedIn (Articles about state of e-commerce, inbound marketing and growth)