The Crusade Against Advertising

Banner advertising is dead man walking. How do I know? I read that everywhere. Recent excerpts from leading commentators include “almost useless,” “days are numbered” and in Digiday last month, “hatred for the much-maligned banner has grown steadily.”

Sorry, but real estate is real estate. Your Web page is only so many pixels wide and long. Are we saying pictures and arresting graphics do not attract the eye? Does compelling copy not drive interest and action?

Show me all the metrics you’ve got why repeated viewing of advertising images does not work. I cannot be fooled because I’ve seen it work hundreds of times. I have become aware of certain marketing and technology companies because they advertise right here, for example, in Publishing Executive. I have definitely made it a point to find out more about some of them. Even if I don’t take that closer look, when I meet one of their sales reps at least I will have heard of her company. That is miles better than representing an unknown firm even though the value won’t fit on a spreadsheet.

The world of advertising technology seems hellbent on decimating advertising rates – and they have done a superb job of it, like bidding ads down as low as possible on exchanges (RTB). Now many advertisers will only pay if someone clicks on an ad (CPC), or fills out a form (CPL) or actually buys something (CPA). Especially for our B2C brethren, these are now the predominant forms of ads – i.e. publishers only get paid for a handful of the ads they run.

I keep hearing about “native ads.” Don’t know much about them because I’ve seen that term apply to more than one format. Some of it looks like we are being asked to cross the ad/edit divide. I hear it is a hot buzzword in venture capital circles, so I’m betting at the end of the day it means publishers will be expected to earn less again.

Call it what you want, if a marketer wants to plant their message on my page they are expected to pay for the privilege. If you accept that having a marketer’s product appear on your digital pages is of no intrinsic value, you may be right. That’s not true of anything I’ve ever published, though; and I bet many readers feel the same.

Andy Kowl is a journalist and entrepreneurial publisher with more than 30 years developing, marketing andgrowing publishing companies. He is senior vice president of publishing strategy for ePublishing Inc., the leading enterprise publishing system (EPS) provider which manages content, audience data, workflow, newsletters and e-commerce for more than 600 B2B publications. He helps publishers increasereader engagement and response by integrating behavioral data with contextual content, and shows them direct ways to monetize the results. Andy’s background in B2B includes publishing, editing and/or owning magazines and informationproducts covering specialty retail, horse breeding, real estate, credit unions, Wall Street compliance and wireless technology. He organized dozens of publishers to form the 'B2B Audience Network,' now part of ePublishing, to fill excess ad inventory.

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  • Hezi Aris

    Management has been lax for too long in satifying the needs of advertisers who long ago begged to be included, in fact needed to be included within those pages that were required for their viability. They begged, they pleaded, they promised. We empathized, enabled, and were thereafter kicked to the curb.

    My product is superb. I don’t accept those ploys. A succesful business must learn that their product or service is not sufficient for their success. Advertising is part of the equation. It costs money to be successful. PR is not the answer. It may be necessary; even so, it is ancillary. Squander on advertising with the respective titles and mediums has been the undoing of many companies.

    Just as my product must captivate the reader by its manner of writing and subject, so in advertising must the product be captivating visually and cerebrally. The product too often afforded the online, as well as the lesser pulication titles, too often dismissed as superfluous, is the undoing of a lazy advertising industry who believe their success and prowess is confined to an esoteric elite few. More of the "big boys" will fail because the advertising product lacks the refinement and instant gratification they have weaned too many readers to expect. Were is the foreplay? Its all about the anticipation. The rest is chocolate topping. Yum!

    It may be too late to reflect over this debacle other than to know of it. Stay your ground. The advertiser must learn to respect your product. Were there nting to repect in your product why would the beg, plead, and whine?