It's Not Inventory That's The Problem For Online Ads; It's Getting People's Attention
from the it's-about-time! dept
For many years we’ve been banging the drum about how advertisers need to realize that advertising is content. As there were more and more complaints about people skipping ads or figuring out ways to avoid advertising, the solution was simply to recognize that if the ads were good content you no longer had to worry about intrusive advertising (which works less and less, as the idea of the captive audience goes away). Earlier this week, we wrote about how we were worried that too many TV commercial advertisers seemed to think that simply throwing their commercials at the beginning of YouTube videos was going to be the solution to the “TiVo problem.” That’s not going to work, because that’s not how people want to be advertised to.
In that post, I mentioned that some have clearly figured this out, and linked back to a post from 2004 about American Express understanding the nature of ads being content for a campaign they ran online that really encouraged people to seek them out. The good news is that those older campaigns were so successful that the company has embraced the model much more fully, even using the same language we have about how ads are content, and how they need to be more interactive and engaging. Meanwhile, Forbes is running a series of articles on online videos as well, with multiple articles noting how American Express is using YouTube to get people to want to view their ads, and (similar to Frito-Lay) getting people to actually make their own ads as well. Forbes even has an article from an ad exec about the importance of ads being good, engaging content as well. While it could have come a bit earlier on in the evolution of advertising, it’s really great to see it working in practice — though, we’re sure there will still be some who complain about how advertising is dead due to things like TiVo. In the first Forbes article above, by the way, it’s also worth pointing out that the company notes that forcing ads before the videos is a pretty sure path to losing their audience. So, as we had suggested in the piece earlier this week, advertisers expecting YouTube to put their ads on other’s videos are barking up the wrong tree. Instead, they should look at simply making it so people want to see their videos, and then putting them wherever it makes sense (including just uploading them to YouTube)… just like American Express has done. It’s not about buying airtime, or “finding inventory.” The inventory is all there. There’s no limit to inventory online. The only limit is getting people to pay attention.