More evidence of ads not working

By October 21, 2009Advertising

There was an interesting piece on ReadWriteWeb a couple of days ago reporting on some research from marketing firm Brand in Hand which found that female iPhone users are barely interacting with mobile ads.  They are too busy using the phone to waste time clicking through to find out what might lie on the other side.

I would bet that this phenomena will spread to other parts of the population as well, maybe to all of it eventually.  My logic is:

  • Being short on time is increasingly a problem for everyone, and this trend is accelerating
  • Ads don’t offer anything to the consumer anymore – if you want to find out about a product or service you can now do much better searching on Google than clicking on an ad.  This fact of modern life is getting better and better understood by more and more of the population

Note also that these arguments are not limited to mobile.

So where does advertising go?

Two answers to that spring to mind right now (note this isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive list):

  • from broadcast ads to engagement driven marketing, the same ReadWriteWeb piece has an example of an app from Kraft foods that is working really well for them
  • discount or voucher driven marketing – vouchers are becoming an increasingly common part of the purchase process
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  • Funny, this is what the newspaper and magazines said 30+ years ago–the ads aren't working because people are too busy “interacting” with the content. So, we need to add “coupons” to the ad to stimulate interest; or perhaps we need to blend advertising and content and create advertorials (read: apps) that people want to engage with.
    So perhaps the new world isn't so new after all..

  • Ads don't work because there are far, far too many of them. Too much of anything turns into noise and we shut it out. The ad world would be very smart to halve the number of ads and double the price. Everyone would be better off.

    I'm sure I have been bombarded with at least 500 ads in the last 24 hours. I can't recall a single one of them. When one annoys me enough that I can recall it I swear never to buy that product since I don't want to fund more annoying ads.

  • I think you've hit the nail on the head James

  • Funny, this is what the newspaper and magazines said 30+ years ago–the ads aren't working because people are too busy “interacting” with the content. So, we need to add “coupons” to the ad to stimulate interest; or perhaps we need to blend advertising and content and create advertorials (read: apps) that people want to engage with.
    So perhaps the new world isn't so new after all..

  • Perhaps the industry will just shrink? I'm reminded of the intent generation/intent harvesting post from a while back. If advertising or information or content doesn't align itself directly with the harvesting bit, it's going to struggle to justify its reason for being.

  • Ads don't work because there are far, far too many of them. Too much of anything turns into noise and we shut it out. The ad world would be very smart to halve the number of ads and double the price. Everyone would be better off.

    I'm sure I have been bombarded with at least 500 ads in the last 24 hours. I can't recall a single one of them. When one annoys me enough that I can recall it I swear never to buy that product since I don't want to fund more annoying ads.

  • I think you've hit the nail on the head James