Why banner ads are broken beyond repair via @Digiday

Interesting perspective from our friends at @Digiday. Not sure we totally agree, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless…

Article below:

In a way, Tim Berners-Lee is to blame.

He invented a system to organize information hypertextually. He also insisted the Web was, and forever will be, free.

So 20 years ago, the banner ad was born as a standardized set of units that surround content. An inaccurate transposition of interruption marketing, which is linear and can, therefore, be interrupted. In order to capture your attention they take over your screen, or you don’t even see them because of banner blindness. Banner advertising paid for the Web. That is a great thing. But banners are broken.

More than 5 trillion banner ads were served in the U.S. in 2012. Because they can be clicked, clicks were measured. 85 percent of all clicks are derived from 8 percent of users. With limitless inventory, the cost per thousand is ever decreasing, despite the bundling of“subprime” impressions via an ever growing set of ad-tech intermediaries, algorithmically arbitraging tiny amounts of attention. Worse, one-third of these impressions are fraudulent anyway. So, in media terms, banners are broken.

I remember judging the One Show Interactive awards. Not a single banner made it through the preliminary rounds. We don’t make ads for awards, but efficacy correlates: (Ads that win awards are 11 times more effective.) Creatively, they are broken.

Online media are trying to wean themselves off click addictions, developing native offerings, to bolster ever declining CPMs. One fifth of users use ad blocking software, costing websites vast sums of money. For publishers, they are broken.

Take a look at one area in which banners seemingly work: retargeting. But consumers hate retargeting because it reminds them they are being watched when they think they are alone. For consumers, they are broken.

Their inventor thinks they suck.

And the future for them doesn’t seem much brighter: How they work on mobile is — not very well. How they work on responsive websites, when they are sold by size, which is a variable on a responsive site is — no idea.

How they impact culture, which is the a brand’s best hope for commercial multipliers is — well, name a banner, any banner at all.

The site has given way to the stream, ironically once again linear, interruptible. No need to surround it with boxes. Instead, advertisements must live in the stream, as units or content, amplified, shared, tailored, addressed. The brokering of digital attention will continue, but the shapes that attention is sold in must, and will, evolve.

#BreakTheInternet Part 2 – Dave & Busters Edition


Whoops. Dave & Buster’s has since apologized for the ill-conceived tweet, but it seems that the damage was certainly done. Follow the full story – here. Somewhere Kim is missing the attention. On a separate note, I’m really digging the longevity of the #BreakTheInternet hashtag – it looks like it may extend beyond the original Kim Kardashian Paper cover + phots and become common vernacular for viral conversations. That’s my prediction and you heard it here first!

China Stops Censoring the Web!

Just kidding. But China is loosening the reigns on censorship in one small city for the next few days! Baby steps, one supposes.

Today marks the start of China’s three day World Internet Conference, hosted in the small and decidedly un-techie city of Wuzhen. China – which, despite heavy Internet censorship and regulation, makes up a sizable chunk of the world’s total Internet users – wants a seat at the global Internet governance table, and hosting this conference aims to be the first step. This, not so surprisingly, is coming shortly after the immense success of Allibaba’s recent IPO (the e-commerce company has been called “China’s Amazon”). It will likely take more than a successful site and a temporary censorship lift (in a city with reportedly spotty service, no less) for China to gain the trust of the Internet powers that be. But they’ve accomplished more with less to go on, so my money’s on China. And if Allibaba’s IPO is any indication, so is everyone else’s. Read more here. 

Snapchat Introduces Snapcash

If you have Snapchat, you likely received a shortened version of the above video from Team Snapchat yesterday, introducing their new Venmo-like (Venmo-identical?) feature that allows users to send cash to each other electronically over the app. It seems the app valued at $10 billion is looking to put their valuation where their mouth is and people are paying attention (it was a top trend on Twitter yesterday).

Snapchat isn’t the first app to make a “do the exact same thing as someone else but better” attempt so no judgement there, but does this feel like a natural next step for Snapchat? Adding a functional and transactional feature to perhaps the most fluffy and ephemeral app on your iPhone? Jury’s out, but perhaps CEO Evan Spiegel & co. are predicting that the same people who trust them with nude selfies may also feel safe enough to trust them with money. But with the recent Snapchat security breaches, let’s just hope it’s only the selfies that disappear.

On a final and purely creative note – this video could’ve been better. A bit too long and not quite weird enough to be irreverently funny. But maybe I’ve been watching too much Too Many Cooks…

Facebook Changes Stripes Once Again, Organic Brand Posts Now Endangered

4-organic-reach-2014Facebook late Friday announced yet another push to reduce the number of organic brand posts it says are cluttering its users’ newsfeeds. In an update to its “volume and content controls for promotional posts” taking effect in January 2015, Facebook said it will further limit the number of promotions posted organically by brands to the users who liked them. Read full article here.

Top 5 Trends in Digital Media for 2015 (via Say Media)

digital media trends future aaramshopPredicting the future is never easy, but it’s always interesting – regardless of whether you’re envisioning a chilling dystopia or a brave new world. 2015 is going to be a bit of both in Digital Media, the convergence of a brand’s website, social media, mobile marketing, games and apps. Smart publishers and marketers will anticipate industry changes and take advantage of new opportunities – before they become the standard. Check out the top trends via SayMedia here.