Tinotopia (Logo)
TinotopiaLog → Online Advertising Sucks (25 May 2004)
Previous entry:
In The Suburbs

Next entry:
Tino Manor Entertainment
Tuesday 25 May 2004

Online Advertising Sucks

In Wired:

Speaking at the Ad:Tech conference, a three-day expo of Internet advertising technology, a panel of representatives from CNet, New York Times Digital and Yahoo said customer feedback would play an increasingly important role in decisions involving the deployment of new advertising technologies.

Advertising, by its very nature, is all about customer feedback. The point of advertising something is to get customers to feed money back to you in exchange for whatever it is that you’re advertising.

The problem is that the assclowns in the advertising industry, full of hubris, seem to believe that if people don’t respond to ads, it must be either because there’s something wrong with the customers, or because the potential customers aren’t noticing the ads. The clear solution then is to make the ads more intrusive, louder, brighter, and to make them flash.

This, of course, won’t result in people going out of their way to make sure that they never see the ads in the first place.

This arrogance on the part of advertisers applies to all media, not just INTERNET. (Aside: Why do so many people not only not realize that the word ‘Internet’ takes the definite article, but that it’s not an acronym?) Try to sell me something that I just might be interested in, and I’ll be likely to watch your ad, and then more likely to buy your product when I’m shopping. I am not interested in:

  • adult diapers
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • erection-producing drugs
  • drugs, in fact, of any kind
  • mortgage refinancing
  • payday loans
  • collect-calling schemes
  • the latest tits-and-explosions movie
  • the latest Boomermobile
  • your nasty home PC loaded up with ‘easy’ to use features

Everyone’s different, and everyone’s different at different times, but the ads that would be well-targeted at me right now would tout:

  • antique Porsche parts and accessories
  • high-end mobile phones
  • almost anything battery-operated that fits in a pocket
  • network scanners

Is anyone advertising any of that stuff? No. On TV, I just might be persuaded to understand this. The technology is in place, but the business model not, to narrowly target advertisements; so it’s still necessary to show us all the same ads, which means that we all see the ads meant for Madison Avenue’s dream consumer. Older people complain that advertisers focus exclusively on college kids, but to me it seems like the advertisers are mainly chasing after incontinent, slightly dim prole Zeppelin fans who have degenerative health problems and who are really overextended financially.

Online, though, the advertising business model is brand new, but I still see ads primarily for garbage that I’m not buying because I have absolutely no desire for it, not because I remain unaware that it’s available in five colors and on easy payment terms etc.

The people selling advertising online now say that they’re seeing more demand, so prices are likely to rise. This might result in the advertisers putting down the crack pipe and coming to understand that the best way to sell something is to sell something that people want to buy.

Posted by tino at 13:53 25.05.04
This entry's TrackBack URL::

Links to weblogs that reference 'Online Advertising Sucks' from Tinotopia.

Today, I found this tidbit from my employer (in the WSJ):

“He said his next challenge is to convince Wall Street — which he said is experiencing a second Internet bubble — to assign a higher value to AOL. Mr. Parsons noted that while America Online’s core dialup service is losing subscribers like a slowly melting iceberg, its advertising sales will become comparable to that of highly valued Yahoo Inc.”

Oh, yeah. Internet advertising. Wave of the future. And all he wants is a false valuation that has it’s basis in an investing mania. Terrific.

“Our challenge is to articulate to Wall Street that there is a Yahoo inside of AOL…so that some of that Internet fairy dust gets sprinkled on AOL,” he said.”

As if this isn’t bad enough, his analogy is based on a competitor’s product (Tinkerbell, Disney). I shudder to think of the idiocy implied here.

Posted by: Nicole at May 25, 2004 03:29 PM

The problem is what Tino wants is more specialized and advertisors are still largely stuck going after the mass market. They would rather spend $1 million for a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl that might get a 1% response rate than spend that money to better target consumers already pre-disposed to their products. But that would require people to think different and change the way they do things and no one wants to be first and fail.

Posted by: Paul M johnson at May 26, 2004 09:09 AM

The vast majority of advertisers want to reach as targeted an audience as possible. This is the entire business premise behind the cable networks, Fox, UPN & WB. They generally have higher CPMs than the broadcast networks because they can offer a lower cost per targeted segment exposed.

There are some advertisers who care more about reach than targeted segment, but these tend to be products that appeal to the masses, eg Coke, Tide, Crest, McDonalds, etc.

Google has really revolutionized online advertising — it’s a much different beast than it was just a few years ago. Google, its advertisers and the content providers are all making money using their targeted model. I expect that we’ll see TV advertising move in this direction, if not by innovation than by necessity. As PVRs become more common, they will both continue to erode the presently broken TV advertising model, as well as allow a more Googlesque targeted model to develop.

Posted by: Eric Canale at June 5, 2004 04:39 PM