Digital Doesn’t Matter

I bought Josh Sklar’s book Digital Doesn’t Matter during a shopping spree and without realising (LOL) that the title of the book was ironic. The real irony, however, is that after reading the book I am all the more convinced that Digital Doesn’t Matter.

Josh’s book is a very long one, the content coming from 135 interviews with big shots in Advertising, and, to be perfectly honest with you, I can’t say I enjoyed all of it. However, the book does provide some interesting answers to some important questions.

For example: why is Digital all of a sudden all the rage, after having been neglected and ignored and even scorned for so long? That’s a simple one: because there are over a billion people on Facebook, and that, of course, changed just about everything.

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Google App Streaming

Facebook and Mobile (read: Apps) are eating your lunch?

Google App Streaming is a very interesting idea from Google. They can’t do much about Facebook, but they are the ones behind Android. So here you go: you can now Google content that is available on certain Apps, but not on the web. The Open web? Goggle used to stand for it, but no more. There’s iOS and there’s Google and there’s Facebook.

I have changed

From: The Break Up (2007). I have changed, says she.

We don’t even hang out in the same places anymore…

That was 8 years ago. Now it’s much worse than that.

The ad guy feels like he doesn’t have to: he can follow her around the web!

Too bad she’s not amused.

AdTech is in Denial

AdTech is in denial. It’s shocking. Things are much worse than I imagined.

For example, Grant Le Riche, Managing Director for Canada for TubeMogul, says there’s too much fuss about ad-blocking: Ad Blocking Hype is Overblown. To keep things short, ad-blocking grew “only” 41% globally last year, but there’s no reason to worry because ad impressions available from *their* platform in Canada grew 275%.

Is he serious? If his company is doing fine, that’s good for them. But what does that have to do with the state of online advertising? And even if ad impressions had grown 275% globally, which is very unlikely, there would still be a huge problem: more impressions cannot make up for a smaller reach, especially if it’s the younger, more educated, more informed, heavy user crowd that is rushing to install ad-blockers.

Which, of course, is exactly what is happening.

But it gets worse: he apparently doesn’t understand that if the problem was caused by tracking and targeting, more tracking and more targeting is unlikely to be the solution:

Finally, as the quantity and quality of data used for audience targeting improves ad relevance and drives increased engagement, ad blockers’ popularity and prevalence should stabilize.

But, trust us, we would not stand by if it were a real problem. Right!

Not easy to scale

Interesting WSJ article via Don. Some niche publishers are opting out of AdTech.

I am waiting for the day the NY Times of the world will do the same, starting from the most valuable areas of their websites: the homepage, financial news etc.

Funny to read Susan Bidel, an analyst at Forrester Research, saying that

building a business entirely on sponsored content is not easy to scale.

Funny because I think it can scale. Sure, not in the billions, but what are we talking about? The NY Times just reported total online revenues of $400 million, so…

Second, because the real question we should ask is: for whom does the AdTech model scale? For the AdTech companies. Certainly not for Publishers.

A new web ads business that works

Not sure that creating a new web ads business that works is something that can be done, but there’s little doubt that Don Marti is right:

The same content can bring in an order of magnitude more ad revenue in print than online. In any other technology business, failing to keep up with 19th-century technology would be cause to reinvent things from the ground up. It’s time to apply the same standard to web ads, and not just protect the existing web ad business from ad blocking, but make a new web ad business that works.

The problem is: who is going to reinvent things from the ground up? Publishers don’t have a clue about how to do it. And the AdTech industry has no good reason to reinvent anything, because things are working just fine for them.

I wrote a short – and free! – Ebook about Online Advertising in which I asked…

Does Online Advertising work? The right question to ask would be: for whom does Online Advertising work? Does it work for Publishers? Does it work for Advertisers? Or does it just work for the Middlemen based in Silicon Valley?