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 and growing 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 hundreds B2B online publications. He helps publishers increase reader engagement and response by integrating behavioral data with contextual content, and shows them direct ways to monetize the results. Andy writes the B2B Beat blog for Publishing Executive magazine. His background in B2B includes publishing, editing and/or owning magazines and information products covering specialty retail, horse breeding, real estate, credit unions, Wall Street compliance and wireless technology.