Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 14, 2009 3:11 PM

The Trigger Finger

If the way in which we use the Internet (and mobile) is so different from traditional media, the advertising is going to have to change.

How many times have you found yourself sitting in front of the television, watching a sub-par show and saying to yourself, "well, there's only 20 minutes left, I might as well watch and see how this turns out?" It happens all of the time. You're in the car listening to the radio just hoping that something interesting comes on, even though you've endured the same traffic and news updates multiple times in a row. Or, you keep flipping through a magazine/newspaper hopeful that one of the articles will capture your attention.

You don't do the same thing when it comes to the Internet or your mobile device.

If it's not exactly what you were looking for or hoping to see, you're gone. Quicker than a light switches off. Boom. Gone. No regrets. No going back. No floating around to see if you were wrong or if the experience is going to get any better. New Media Marketers love waxing poetic about the difference between the Internet and other media channels having something to do with the interactivity and measurability of the medium. That is both true and fair, but what makes it uniquely different to traditional mass media is how quickly the consumers vote with their trigger finger.

If it's not immediately perfect... it's gone.

As Marketers, it's important that we always remind ourselves of this. As Marketers, it's important that we start developing better marketing messages (and platforms) to ensure that our advertising and communications operates and optimizes itself for that type of experience. The truth is that we are not there yet. Not even close. Most online advertising today still looks a whole lot like traditional advertising. Banner ads are like billboards. Email Marketing is like Direct Marketing.

It's one of the reasons why Search Engine Marketing works so well.

The way the advertiser pays for the ad on a search engine is different (it's based on the click and not the impression), and the way in which the ad appears fits the channel it resides within. It's not that search advertising has less interruption, it's that search advertising fits. And, we need more of that. Consumers are creating their own online experiences (either through RSS or by following the people and pages that are most relevant to them), and their trigger fingers are getting sharper and faster. There's a reason display advertising has seen a 50% drop in clicks since 2007 (and that only 8% of the Internet population accounts for those clicks).

Online advertising has to change, evolve, improve and then constantly optimize.

Engagement, rich media, time spent, behavioural targeting and everything else won't save online advertising unless the actual creative fits, grooves and adds value to the overall experience of the consumer. One of the reasons why advertising works so well in fashion magazines is because those ads are - to a certain degree - a compliment to the content. It's going to be a very interesting moment in time when online advertising can compliment the content it wraps around as well.

What do you think, will online advertising simply upgrade to self or really evolve into something that won't make consumers use that trigger finger? 

By Mitch Joel