Your advertising is making me hate you.

January 28, 2019 3:01pm
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Nobody ever really liked commercials when we watched live TV, but we dealt with them because after a couple we’d get to go back to our show.

But here on the Internet, the advertising never stops!

It’s on every single page – every article, every YouTube video – and often times you’ve got more than one ad. Or the ad pops-up in front of what you’re trying to read and blocks your view, even though I thought we’d already decided that pop-ups were awful like a decade ago. Or the ad follows you down the screen so that between product ads and publisher ads, you’re only left with about two inches of screen real estate when you’re just trying to read a stupid blog post on your phone while you’re using the toilet.

On one hand, Internet advertising is somewhat revolutionary because it’s the first time that advertisers have had access to actual data to determine the effectiveness of their ads.

On the other hand, though, I think it’s also helped them to understand that the giant money pit they used to dump into for print and TV advertising wasn’t nearly as effective as their billions had thought, and so not only do publishers get much less for online advertising than other mediums ever saw, but they’re more prone to excessive advertising to boot.

My prime example right now is YouTube – where you can see ads every couple of minutes for the exact same thing, to the point where frankly it decreases my interest in a brand when I keep getting interrupted to see the same thing over and over.

TV ads were predictable and always followed the same time slots, so if we didn’t want to sit through them we could go get a snack or something to avoid them.

Print ads were easy enough to gloss over, although we all know the feeling of flipping through a magazine and realizing that it’s more ads than actual content! My wife gets a few parenting magazines like that where it’s pretty clear the reason they’re FREE is because they’re basically just 95% ads for diapers and baby meds and whatnot.

Personally, I know that I would much rather see an ad once that’s either funny, informative, or interesting, and if it’s a regular advertiser on a show that I watch, then so be it. But when I’m watching 5-10 minute YouTube videos and I see the same ads for Wix and Grammarly and the local ambulance chasing law firm every minute and a half, it doesn’t make me want to use their services.

In fact, I’ve purposefully avoided what are probably perfectly good services and products just because their advertising was absolutely obnoxious.

The sad part is, I know the reason they do it is because it works, just like spammers fill my inbox with scams because a fraction of a percent fall for them. And maybe that’s a strategy that works when you’re casting a huge net and need mass market appeal. It’s probably why I wouldn’t do well in marketing because I’d be much more interested in the quality of a customer rather than just plastering people with ads so that a couple of them will remember our obnoxious jingle when they’re at the store and throw a box of our miscellaneous product into their carts.

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