Advertising annoys people. Advertising works. Many in the advertising business have long assumed that both of these statements are true. But the more annoying advertising gets as a whole, the harder it becomes for any particular advertiser to break through the clutter.
Tellingly, a grassroots backlash has arisen against the most bothersome ways of interrupting people, to the point where legislation is now being enforced against telemarketing, junk faxing, and email spam. Ever get the feeling that some big advertisers don’t quite get it yet? Recently, I changed home phone providers, now that legislation has paved the way for Rogers (a large Canadian cable company) to offer a local and long distance phone service to compete with the leader, Bell.
Evidently incensed at my decision but unable—due to legislation—to phone me to try to win the service back, Bell sent me a nice card in the mail, telling me that they weren’t allowed to contact me but assuring me that they’d be calling me when the 90-day legislated cooling-off period ended.
Why didn’t they just hire kids to throw a rock through my window? I felt stalked. Multiply that instinctive revulsion to heavy-handed marketing messages by millions of consumers, and you get a rapidly shifting pattern of media consumption. Add to that a new, hyper-pampered mindset. Never before has it been so easy to get precisely what you want. Want the most elusive version of an old live Neil Young recording?
An underappreciated new release from Snow Patrol? An inspiring keynote speech from the leader of your trade industry association? Forget the question: if you cared enough, you’d already have it in your MP3 library; maybe it’s playing in your ear right now. Want wasabi peanuts or a washing machine part delivered overnight? Click the mouse a few times, and you’re done.
In light of the fragmentation of media and the proliferation of products and pastimes, as a marketer, you’re dealing with a consumer whose attention has been not only divided, but sliced and diced many times over. Paradoxically, though, once slotted into micro-niches, customers, subscribers, and members of communities are as loyal as ever; perhaps more so.
Marketers’ abuse of precious attention has led to negative reactions in many ways, but the growing legion of innovative companies that have sprung up to cater to the precise whims of niche markets has achieved unprecedented customer satisfaction on some fronts, leading to demands and expectations that are nearly impossible to fulfill for the mediocre or irrelevant vendor. The death of advertising?
Maybe not. But a sea change is well underway. Web search hasn’t just been a passenger in this journey. It’s been a major catalyst for changing consumer expectations of media and advertising. Search is a special realm. Because web index search engines arose in a noncommercial phase of the World Wide Web, there is a lingering sense among web users that search is almost like a public utility; an information haven.
Internet users have taken to the so-called User Revolution like a diverse population of multicolored, oddly shaped fish, happily swimming in knowledge and community, relatively unimpeded by unwanted commercial messages. Now couple that revolutionary new medium with the opportunity to unobtrusively advertise on the same page as web search results—without annoying searchers. Those little ads are the answer to the $64 billion question: “What if you could come up with a way to advertise that doesn’t annoy people and achieves measurable results at the same time—a form of advertising that targets potentially interested customers, yet doesn’t bother people needlessly?”
When I close the door of my office to supposedly get some peace and quiet, I’m still fending off little interruptions such as a pop-up reminder to install security software that I never plan to install. Or if I’m at my parents’ house, maybe that pesky animated paper clip is doing the limbo on my screen as I attempt to review a simple Word document. How much is too much?
Read more news about “online advertising market “:
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3. Mena online ad market to reach $2.8 billion by 2016
4. Advertising industry takes steps to address concerns about online copyright infringement
5. Online marketing: the future of advertising