A Better Ad Model

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?  Source : comScore

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?

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Filed under digital media, Thinking Aloud

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