Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 3, 201411:19 PM

I Want To See Ads!

"Of course, you want to see ads, you're in marketing!"

That's not what I mean. Here's the scene: I've been thinking about buying some stuff (books, yoga mats, whatever...) online since Black Friday. So, as I peruse this pretty little thing called, "The Interwebs," I've been either buying stuff or dumping stuff into a shopping cart.

Attention brands that are doing advertising online:

Just because I put something in the shopping cart and did not checkout (yet!), don't you start with that retargeting advertising business so quickly! Also, if I did buy it, stop throwing your advertising budget down the toilet by retargeting me with products in that ads that I have already bought.

This is not something new.

I fully recognize that I am not the first (nor, will I be the last) individual to talk about this. Here's the (bigger) thing: in the past week, I've begun to realize that when the ads are present - and they are thing(s) that I have already thought about - I miss ads. Real ads. Ads that inform me of something that I don't already know. In fact, I find myself missing ads so much, that I began to wonder what ads am I not seeing that I would like to see? That's right, ads that I might like to see. Is there some new movie trailer that I just missed? What about the latest pair of sneakers that I may be interested in? Oh, here's a more strategic thought: let's say that I just bought a new notebook (which I did), why not show me some great accessories (like pens or something) that might make me up my basket with your brand?

Advertising doesn't work.

I've heard a lot of very smart marketers tell me that advertising on social networks hasn't been that successful for them. After this past week, I can see why. Put aside what I do for a living, I'm just a consumer looking at all of these lame ads for products that I have either already purchased or am about to purchase, and they're just following me everywhere. My consumer brain is screaming one thing (and one thing only): stop following me (it's creepy) and, you're being annoying (maybe, I don't want to buy that yoga mat anymore).

The bigger problem.

Wait a second, I just realized something. It's not the brand that is the advertiser of these ads, it's the online retailer that's doing a lot of this retargeting. They're the ones pushing me to either complete the sale or sending out a retargeted ad about something that I already purchased. Now what? Who do I blame? And, is this retailer, now doing co-op advertising and charging the brand for all of this? What a mess. So, am I no longer into the power of retargeting? No. Not at all. I'm still very bullish on the power of leveraging data and analytics to deliver a more targeted and relevant ad... at the right time. I'm not bullish on brands who are spending a premium on this type of advertising (and, trust me, it's not cheap) to get these kinds of sketchy results.

Who watches the advertisers?

There is billions of dollars at play. Advertising budgets have shifted - with massive growth - to online. Everything from search and email marketing to general branding spend on display. This is not something that is likely to slow down any time soon. There is a reason that the massive advertising networks are attempting to ensure that over fifty percent of their revenue is coming from digital (and growing). Advertising follows consumption. Consumer are shifting their media consumption habits. Digital offers an intense amount of opportunities to make these connections. The ability for a brand (or retailer) to follow, track and engage with a consumer across multiple media properties seems like advertising panacea, but it has to be done strategically, and in a compelling and valuable proposition for the consumer. Otherwise, consumers will start feeling the same way that I do right about now. Not that it's annoying to see your brand's ad so many times (even though I am well past the attention and interest phase), but that your brand is now - in some weird way - blocking me from seeing something else that might interest me. Which, makes me hate the brand. Retargeting is amazing for digging deep into a better sales funnel. Sadly, retargeting just feels like a terrible form of impression repetition.

Yes, I want see relevant ads. And so do you. Let's to forget that. Yes, I want to see new and interesting ads as well. And so do you. Let's not forget that, either.

By Mitch Joel

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