Meaningful connections

Branded content has been heralded as the future and the saviour of online media for some time now, and yet apparently 50% of publishers have a renewal rate of only 50%. Worse, another 39% have a renewal rate of 25% or less.

Not great, but I love how John Schneider puts it:

Brands are having a lot of one night stands, creating meaningful connections and then abandoning them.

Meaningful connections? No, those are called shags. Paid shags, to be more precise.

No miracle drug

When will we stop dreaming we can find the new miracle drug? There is none. There are way too many ads. Not only they’re an annoyance, but most suck.

Online it’s even worse: almost all ads suck. They are much more aggressive. And the great vast majority of people are not going to give them the benefit of a doubt anyway.

But branded content works, you say. So did banner ads, a long time ago. Then the novelty wears off, the big dumb marketing managers race to the party, and it’s over.

Introduce accountability, content production, measurable results, layers of people who have to give the green light to everything, and automation, and it’s a dead dog.

Here comes programmatic

Programmatic is great when you have a lot of garbage to sell, like banner ads, and want to make sure you are going to sell all of it, or as much of it as you possibly can.

At the same time, it further degrades what it is selling. If there are going to be ads all the time everywhere, and usually in the same place, we take them for granted.

Programmatic makes sure that remnant ad space gets sold, and at the same time transforms almost all of the ad space into remnant space (Please see Question #9).

Selling branded content via programmatic will not necessarily make it go away (banner ads are still here), but it will make sure that it will fail faster.

Which in Silicon Valley mythology is often considered almost a success, right?

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