What does it say to you when people go out of their way to avoid your product? Nothing good, probably. That’s exactly what consumers are doing with digital advertising, and while it’s not good, it might actually be a blessing in disguise. How so?
I’ve been in digital media for 20 years, and during that time the question of “how do we pay for this” (monetization, in a word) has been asked constantly. The obvious answer was to employ the ad-supported model of “old” media since adapting the subscription model to the digital age has proven incredibly difficult. The problem is that with almost unlimited inventory, price pressures keep pushing down the revenue per ad and publishers just kept adding more “stuff” to keep revenues growing. That’s not the case with traditional media, although TV has fallen victim to the same problem. Enter the ad blockers, which are a giant call to action to rethink the business model again. Well, maybe not the model but certainly the execution.
Some folks are already doing that with decent success. Let me give you an example. To unwind, I will often take short breaks to play a game on my phone. While I don’t have an ad blocker installed on my phone, I have uninstalled a few games that popped up ads or placed the banners in places where it was likely that my fingers would accidentally click them.
One game I’ve been playing does something differently which I think is a very effective way to promote ad viewing. Before I begin a level, a little box asks me if I want to watch a video and get rewarded with something I can use immediately in the game – a bonus life, a booster box, etc. Saying “yes” brings up a full-screen ad of no more than 30 seconds – most are shorter. The ads are almost always for another mobile game of some sort, and to get my reward I need to let the video finish.
This is a better way to market because it gives value to the user as well as to the marketer. I almost look forward to the ad prompts since I gain something. When was the last time you said that about an ad? This sort of innovative thinking turned around the “avoid it at all costs” mentality, at least with this consumer. It costs the publisher (the game I’m playing) nothing and brings value to all parties.
The business model hasn’t changed. What has changed is that users are going to mobile, and within mobile they are hiding out inside apps. Rethinking how ads interface within those apps is how the business moves forward. Showing ads that provide value to all parties – which includes the user – is the key. You agree?
This is our final screed until Monday. I’m going to enjoy the Thanksgiving break and hope you can do so as well. The post below was written the day prior to Thanksgiving in 2008. It’s still very appropriate, whether your gathering is 20+ people like ours, or just 4 of you enjoying the day and one another. It’s not the size of the family (everyone who comes is family to me!) that matters or even if some members are missing. It’s giving thanks for what you have and sharing the day with some people who matter to you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a lot of work in my house – maybe in yours as well. If you’ve been reading along, you know that the menu planning, shopping, and prep work has been going on for several days and today (Wednesday) is the biggest of the prep days. Tomorrow is focused on bringing all the pieces together, hopefully at the same time, and entertaining the horde that will descend. I like to think of those pieces as the three “F”s. It’s also important to take a few seconds and reflect on them. What? You thought I meant the various dishes we’ve been wrangling up here? Nope!
- “F” number one is Family. It’s the thing for which I am most thankful and the thing that has literally saved my life over this past year as I’ve made some pretty big life changes. Having them here at this holiday is a labor of love and I hope they’ll all keep showing up for many years more.
- “F” number two is Feasting. We do ask everyone to bring something – an appetizer, wine, or a dessert, usually. Obviously it’s not because it lightens the work load very much but because it makes them a part of the process. It’s OUR meal as a family and our shared celebration. The word “feast” comes from the same root as “festival” (yes, it’s also the same root Seinfeld used for “Festivus“) and we try to make it one. All those days of prep come together in a 45 minute orgy of eating. This holiday is very much like Christmas or Hanukah in that way – you prepare for quite a long time and then it’s over way too quickly.
- “F” number three is Football. This is America’s national sport and we’re very much a sports-oriented group. I’ll never forget my Uncle Harry who would sit with us every year and watch the games. “I don’t understand,” he would say, “they all fall down, they all get up, they do it again. What kind of game is this?” It could be paint drying – the point is that it’s a family ritual and through it we bond.
Hopefully those three pieces come together tomorrow in your house or wherever you’ll be as well. Enjoy them!
I had planned to rant today about some smart marketing I came across the other day when a bit of really awful marketing slapped me in the face. I guess I’ll save the good stuff for after the holiday! Instead, let me present some terrible PR work to you. It’s almost a textbook example of what not to do in the modern age. I’m not going to name names because maybe the client has no clue what this person is doing (which is bad too!) in the client’s name. The names are unimportant; the bad PR work is what matters.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The first thing that catches one’s attention is the release’s headline:
Olive Oil Give Box Celebrated After Investigation
My first thought is what the heck is a “give box”? Something that solicits charitable donations? No, what it is in actuality is a typo. In the headline. He meant “gift”. That’s strike one.
Next comes the meaning of the headline. A gift box celebrated after an investigation? Not exactly. There has been an ongoing investigation of fraudulent labelling in the Italian olive oil world for quite a while. The report came out last week. It made no mention, however, of either gift boxes or the brand that is behind the release, which is a Greek olive oil. As an aside, every olive oil producing region has issues with fraudulent labelling, so I’m not sure that “celebrated” is the right term, since the fact that some Italian producers were doing some bad stuff doesn’t celebrate your Greek oil. In fact, it sort of makes me wonder if I should wonder about this oil. There is a ton of hyperbole in the document too. If the oil is “priceless”, why is there a price stated? Strike two.
The body of the story pitch/press release (I can’t tell which it is which is a bad sign right there) reads like a direct response ad. It describes the product along with selling points and has an affiliate link into an Amazon store for purchase. It goes on to suggest “ideas for this story.” What story? Why do my readers (you folks!) care one iota about a premium Greek olive oil? How does the knowledge of what’s in this release benefit you? Strike three.
My inclination here is to rewrite this and show you how he could have turned it into something that might be of interest. Instead, let’s just remember that what’s “news” to you must really be news to the reader (or blogger). Please don’t ask me, or any other outlet, to serve as your vehicle for unpaid advertising. Please don’t ask me to waste my readers’ time. And for goodness’ sake, proofread the release!
There is a valuable role for good PR. Bad PR such as this has no place. You with me?