Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2268 Ad Subtract

I read an article recently about the demise of journalism in our country. Good journalists been thrown out of work because of the preponderance of blogger-opinionators and the crash of ad revenue at print newspapers.

Not much I can say about bloggers, except an opinion isn't news, but the ad revenue thing is interesting. Because part of the newspaper ad revenue disappeared when businesspeople fell under the spell of the new "targeted ad" paradigm. 

For years one side of the advertising camp has been saying if you only directly target ads to the consumer that needs your product the most, you'll virtually guarantee you'll make a sale. Why broadcast your ads willy-nilly, when we at Facebook and Google can monitor your potential customers' demographics and buying habits and use our special scientific algorithms to predict what they need to buy?

Like most urban myths that turned out to be scams, it looked good on paper. Not the papers who were destroyed by it, but electronically anyhow. It made sense in an aliens-constructed-the-pyramids sort of way.

Well, the facts are in. It doesn't work. Turns out people don't like having ads tailored to them appearing next to the content they go online to consume. According to a new study of paid ads on eBay, companies' digital ad efforts actually result in negative returns. They're losing money. Kind of an ad subtract.

"Why?" You ask, "How can that be?" 

My opinion is it’s three reasons. One, people are naturally contrary. They like to not do what you think they'll do, just for spite. Two, people like to self select. And three, when an ad appears that cuts too close to what they just posted, emailed, or online-searched about, it just creeps them out. 

No one likes a stalker. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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