Tag Archives: Ad filtering

Standards And Practices

After selling a schedule of TV ads to a sponsor, there always came a moment during which you held your breath.  It was the time when the sponsor’s commercial was reviewed by the Standards And Practices folks.  They reviewed the commercial to be sure that it complied with governmental and network rules about such areas as comparisons to competitors or “taste.”  Any claims about a product’s efficacy had to be supported by actual research. We weren’t even allowed to present avails (the beginning of a negotiation) unless a new advertiser could pass a background (read Dun and Bradstreet) check by the finance folks. 

I have no idea if those processes are still in place at my old network homes (I suspect they are), but I know that they’re not in the digital world.  Marketers often wonder about the ad blocking phenomenon but one aspect of it might just be the tremendous number of scams and consumers’ wariness of all ads as a result.  As a former web publisher, I always had a concern about the ads that came to our site via an ad network and I felt incredibly bad when we accidentally ran some banners that installed malware.  In retrospect, there were a number of red flags on the order that we should have caught, but the desire for the cash outweighed our wariness.

It’s much worse today, given the number of “imported” pieces of advertising and advertising disguised as content most sites run.  Even the best of publishers have revenue pressures that can blind them to the dirtbags to which they routinely direct their readers.  One solution?  Maybe the industry – publishers and advertisers – need to set up and pay for a central review board through which all ads need to pass.  Call it the digital advertising Standards and Practices department.  No sign off from them, no seal of approval, and the ad won’t run.  Maybe not every site will take that on, but promoting it to your readers as a scam-free site might just help both readership and ad blocking.

Worth a try?

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Filed under digital media, Huh?

Back To The Garden?

Over the weekend, I was thinking about how much the web has changed since I first started using it 20 or so years ago. Putting aside the tremendous improvement in speed (you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to load pages at 28.8kps), almost everything about the web is better. Graphics back then were minimal, video was non-existent. One thing that is the same, however, is that it is open. I think that it was that openness that let the web, accessed via a web browser, become the norm as opposed to the walled gardens such as AOL that were perhaps even more prevalent at the time.

Why am I mentioning this today? I think we are approaching a “back to the future” moment. You see it in what Google and Facebook and others are doing with their versions of a private internet, which I interpret to be a new walled garden. Ostensibly, this is to help users see the web much more quickly. After all, one of the main reasons people use ad blockers is because publishers overload their sites with beacons, graphics, autoplay videos, and the like.  The big guys are asking that pages be cached on their servers, in theory to provide greater speed and less incentive to block the ads.  Maybe it even allows them to substitute ads that they sell in case you can’t fully move your inventory.

The problem with this is the potential for a return to the walled garden.  If you don’t think that could happen, have a look at what happened to Facebook in India.  the company was forbidden to fully launch its internet.org initiative, which was meant to provide free internet access to million who don’t have it.  The problem is that it wasn’t access to the full, open internet at all; only to a series of sites which Facebook permitted.  That, my friends, is exactly what a walled garden looks like.As marketers and publishers, we desperately need a good solution to ad blocking.

As marketers and publishers, we desperately need a good solution to ad blocking.  From my perspective, a return to the era of walled gardens isn’t it.  How about in yours?

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Filed under digital media

Hurry Up!

I know you all want to hear another rant on ad blocking about as much as you’d like to hear an endless loop of Tiny Tim singing Tiptoe Thru The Tulips.  I’ll keep it brief, therefore.  A company called Soasta did some research with the Harris folks about what website users were looking for as they surf around.  Not surprisingly, they found the following (as reported by eMarketer):Most Important Attributes of Website Performance According to US Internet Users, Sep 2015 (% of respondents)

When it comes to website performance, internet users say personalized content is less important than a website’s ease of navigation and speed, according to a September 2015 survey. More than three-quarters of US internet users said that a leading attribute of website performance was that it was easy to navigate. Another top attribute was speed; 73% of respondents indicated so.

Here is a truism (at least one I’ve found) about digital interactions: people hate impediments.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a landing page from an ad that doesn’t go directly to the reason someone clicked on the ad or if it’s just a plain old web page.  People are pressed for time.  Any impediment we put in their way has a high likelihood of derailing the interaction.  Web pages that are slow to load because of external calls get closed.  For you non-technical people, that means when the page calls out for an ad (especially if it needs to fill the ad via a programmatic auction), or some behavioral tracker, or anything else like analytics.  Popups are an impediment as well – it’s something in between the user and what they are trying to do. The research bears this out.  Personalization, on the other hand, can help speed up the interaction since it’s based on the user’s likes and preferences.

Ad blockers generally speed up page loads.  That is one of the main reasons people use them besides avoiding tracking.  If we help people hurry up, maybe they will, in return, be more responsive to the marketing information we present instead of doing all they can to avoid it.

Make sense?  What are your thoughts?


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Filed under Consulting, digital media