Advertising. Love to hate it or hate to love it, it undeniably serves a function. For businesses, it informs consumers and drives revenue. For consumers, it can push us towards or pull us away from a product and help to determine and create attitudes towards businesses, products and services. For online media, it represents tumultuous past and an uncertain future.
The one thing that I would like to talk about today however, is the relationship between ad and customer. Two things are of note here: 1. The relationship should be positive for the viewer. An advertisement should be pleasing to the eye and the ear and leave the customer with a favorable view of the product. But the bus doesn’t stop here. 2. The consumer must have a positive interaction with the advertisement, thus making favorable placement just as important as the advertisement itself. After all, you can have the greatest ad in the world, but if you can’t get it to your audience through a favorable medium with appropriate and pleasant placement, it just doesn’t matter. The advertiser and the consumer both lose.
And let’s face it, the Internet doesn’t have the best track record in this relationship. From primitive 1990′s banner advertisements, to the flashy, interactive advertisements of today, consumers have slowly broken up with online advertising. Or wait, we’re we ever in a relationship to begin with? (The 90′s were pre-Facebook, so there is no verifiable way to check relationship status)
So what attempts are being made, on the end of placement and interaction, to increase a positive relationship between consumers and online advertising? The atmosphere is ripe for a hook-up, and I think that now is a better time than ever for the beginnings of a full-blown, long-term relationship. If advertising and delivery methods can court consumers properly, perhaps even a marriage? How can we make this happen, and who are making attempts?
Yesterday, Digg announced their plans to roll out a new advertising platform- Digg Ads. It works, well, sort of like Digg. Users have the option to digg or bury ads, and the price that advertisers pay is based upon user sentiments/actions. Is this the future of advertising? Maybe. But maybe not.
Digg aren’t the only ones that have made recent leaps in advertising either:
Facebook: Not only does Facebook scan your profile to try and provide you relevant advertisements, but they also allow you to rate them. How does this work? Maybe my profile says that I like Barbie dolls, only, it’s some sort of inside joke between my friends and I. Because Facebook doesn’t know this, they show me an advertisement for a local Babrie store. Only, I am not, at all, a relevant eyeball. So, I click the “thumbs-down” on the ad. But it doesn’t stop there. I then get to tell Facebook WHY I don’t like the advertisement, thus providing the advertiser and Facebook a proverbial gold mine of information about users, user behaviors, user interests and also provides important way to scan for relevance.
Personally, I don’t mind this type of advertising at all. It doesn’t feel invasive, it allows me to choose what sort of advertisements I see, and I also have found out about multiple local bands and events through Facebook advertising. My grade? B- not perfect by any means, but the method avoids being annoying and has provided me with relevant information, that I have in turn, acted upon.
ABC.com: Ok, I admit it, I don’t have cable. In fact, there is not even one TV that is plugged in anywhere in my condo. But LOST and Here Come the Newlyweds wait for no man (or woman). Where they go right in advertising: limited and predictable advertisements. Where they go wrong: I have to watch the advertisement that they give me. I know, I know, that’s what a commercial is, right? You put it out there and I watch it. Not only does this system force you to watch something, (which may induce a negative feeling) but advertisers lose too because their commercials may be playing to irrelevant viewers. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
What if I got to choose the commercial that I wanted to watch? I choose a commercial that is relevant to me, (which is important to advertisers and more likely to lead to a transaction) the advertiser can pay accordingly and the third-party doesn’t loose any money, because a commercial still has to be watched. So current grade? C+. Potential: A. (And that doesn’t even factor in the role of the advertiser to produce an exciting and interactive advertisement in the first place.)
So where does the future of advertising lie. I can only speculate, but it’s undeniable that the relationship between advertiser/advertisement and consumer is one that needs more than a few couples therapy sessions. Interactive, relevant advertisements that provide the consumer with a choice is a great place to start. Let’s make it “Facebook official.”