How Far Will Online Advertisers Go?

After watching a video recently where I discussed online ads with a caller, Max sent the following email to me. He makes several valid points about the state of advertising on the web and why we should all maybe look at things from a different perspective than what the caller presented.

First of all, I’ll tell you my thoughts on the matter. I don’t know who you were talking to but the part where he says people don’t look at ads are just wrong. Him, you, and I all probably skip ads and ignore them completely. But just because he skips and ignores ads doesn’t mean he speaks for the general population. The obvious statement which you pointed out is that “if advertising didn’t work, they would have stopped a long time ago.”

Obviously it works, and they’re getting LOADS more than a percentage of the population. Secondly, you mentioned how you purchased insurance for one of your dogs, and then insurance ads followed you around. This is part of a flaky system of advertising collection that basically targets YOU for specific ads. NPR recently ran an interesting story about this behavior which is both interesting and scary.

The basic gist of the article is that the Internet advertisers use cookies to target users. Websites can store cookies and those wonderful Google click ads that we love, with many more involved, can access those cookies which simply store a long number string that identifies YOU personally! They then compile lists of what you like and have those special algorithms that kinda sorta work and then target you with ads that will make you buy stuff.

This is avoidable by deleting cookies, other protections, etc. but the majority of average computer users don’t even know what a cookie is (although this is changing with the new generations) and they get followed around by these ads no matter what sites they go to. Not to give you a conspiracy theory vibe, but this is orchestrated, planned, targeted advertisement. Your ad A list is sold to lots of different ad companies without you even knowing about it in the first place.

Overall I hate ads, and would happily pay to get rid of them. Look at it this way: TV and Cable evolved with ads, and then we got premium channels like HBO and Cinemax which have no ads, but cost a lot of $$. Then we got DVRs which cost an extra fee monthly so we can record and fast forward our favorite TV shows. My guess is in the future we will just get TV shows on demand by purchase and advertisement will be phased out of television content. If it isn’t, I’d pay the premium fees for no ads.

Apple is pushing to bring interactive iAds which I love because they’re not flashing and annoying. They’re starting their iAd brand with the idea that you WANT to view these ads because they’re not inherently obnoxious from the start. As we’ve heard from some rumors, Apple is keeping a tight leash on their ad content. I believe their motivations are to move advertisement from something you mute and block to something you see and want to click on.

It seems that companies are used to the easy cheap Internet ads that flash and bother people while they’re trying to read an article or look at some Facebook photos. My point is, companies are going to have to sacrifice a little bit to remain in the advertising position that they are in. I disagree with your caller that only a small percentage of people actually look/click on the ads. However, I feel that if advertising companies continue on their current path for the Internet market, they will find themselves there.

What are your thoughts? Do ads really annoy you that much? What do you feel is a viable solution? Thanks, Max, for sharing your thoughts with us.

Do You Want to Be Able to Read Minds?

Dave asked on Lockergnome if the world would be a better place if we could all read minds… sort of like Mel Gibson could do in the movie What Women Want. This, to me, is an interesting question. I cannot honestly say whether or not I would want to know what people are thinking all of the time. I definitely know I wouldn’t like it if people knew what was rattling around in MY noggin.

Do you think that society would be a better place to be in if we all knew all of each other’s innermost thoughts, dreams and wishes? Would it make life easier – or more difficult?

You don’t have to be a mind reader to know what software and apps you should be getting for your machines and devices.

Why I Think Apple's iAd Sounds Amazing


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Apple has made a way for advertisers and sponsors to support free apps – but in a way that makes people want to click. iAd essentially makes the ad itself into another app. That iAd is an app that is embedded inside of your download. Potentially, you’re getting a second app for free. They demonstrate something an advertiser might do.

If I were an advertiser, I would be thrilled to have a platform like this. I could create a small game – or even a series of games – which showcase my product in some way. This would give the user a good reason to click on the ads. Everyone loves to play games, right? If it’s interesting enough, the engagement will be higher. Bumping up the emotional factor is a big deal when it comes to advertising.

I think this iAd platform is awesome. I think we’ll see some pretty amazing mini-apps inside of our regular apps. This goes so far beyond a normal text link ad or even a banner. We’re talking about advertising being apps themselves. Don’t fool yourself: if you already have an Apple product, the chances that you have already downloaded an advertisement already are really high. Every single brand on iTunes is an ad of some sort.

People who are kicking and screaming about the iAd platform are the ones who throw a fit when an app costs a buck. They’ll either complain about paying a dollar… or about having a free app that has an advertisement. Nothing is free, folks. Get over yourself already. If you’re going to have a free app, then you’re going to have advertising. If you don’t want ads, try paying for an app.

I’m looking forward to this because advertisers have a chance to be engaging, relevant and creative. They get to do truly unique things, and think outside of the box. That, my friends, is priceless as far as I’m concerned.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video: