Sunday, 5 October 2008


Creative teams hate making banner advertising and this shows. Consumers don't want to be interrupted, and there is more online advertising than ever before - the end product is that consumers are as annoyed with it as the creatives are. Clickthrough rates are therefore declining. And as the more and more brands increase digital spend a flood of new banner ads are going to hit the market. The problem can only get worse. We need to make online advertising more engaging.

This situation is particularly perplexing as online advertising is one of the fastest growing parts of the digital business outside of the control of Google (and the reason that Google bought Doubleclick). Paid search will continue to grow and will get more and more expensive. Online advertising is the great creative challenge. How do you interrupt a website visitor from his journey when he has the power to click no?

The ad man Howard Luck Gossage, known as "The Socrates of San Francisco" in the 50s and 60s said "The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interest them, and sometimes it's an ad.” His message was that interrupting a reader's journey (like interrupting a webpage visitor's journey) without giving something back, some sort of value exchange was near to a crime.

Luck Gossage further added "The buying of time or space is not the taking out of a hunting license on someone else's private preserve but is the renting of a stage on which we may perform.”

Online advertising is something we all need to get better at. There is going to be much more of it, and its going to be the bread and butter of agency profits. So let's start sprinkling some stardust on that stage that Luck Gossage talks of, so we can all dance on it, and reap the rewards.
  • So firstly, lets truly understand the customer journey and the context we meet our audience in.
  • Lets understand the motivations they have for being on the sites we find them on
  • Lets encourage clients to spend more so we create unique and tailored creative that reflects that site and treat it like a stage
  • Lets be excited and driven about clickthrough rates and measure and optimise
  • Lets do all of this before we lose our status of being accountable in these days of the credit crunch

Break a leg as they say

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