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Strategic insights
The Day Advertising Died

The new form of advertising is based on heavy contextual and personal targeting. Instead of creating a poster or an advert, you make yourself useful by being relevant to people.

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Written by on December 21, 2010

Here is a prediction for 2011: Advertising overload, combined with better use of social media, the rapid change to mobile media, and better metrics, will lead to the biggest advertising crisis ever in digital media.

Advertising overload

Advertising overload is nothing new, and has been a growing problem for the past 20 years. But we are close to the critical point where people just cannot take it anymore. You are being bombarded with advertising no matter where you look online.

  • On YouTube, you will see advertising both inside and outside the videos, constantly disrupting your experience
  • Most websites include a ton of annoying ads
  • Many games are ad supported
  • We got promoted tweets
  • TV stations are increasingly adding inline banner ads, annoying while you watch a movie
  • ...and the list goes on and on. There is even talk about adding advertising to ebooks

Note: I would personally never buy an ebook that includes advertising. I read books to relax, and advertising prevents me from getting into a real relaxing state.

It is getting out of hand.

A recent study (PDF) from Denmark (where I live) found that 74% hate advertising, and that the number of ads on TV has quadrupled in the past 10 years.

The trend is clear. We are rapidly moving towards advertising overload. That is a point in time where people will stop buying a product if they are being disrupted by advertising.

If you place an annoying ad in an ebook, you might sell 100 products, but you might also turn away 200 customers. That is not a good return of investment!

Note: It is likely that this is already happening, but since everyone only measure positive engagement (as in how many people buy), and not negative engagement (how many who don't), we really don't know.

Mobile revolution

The mobile revolution is likely to change the economics of advertising dramatically. In the old world, advertising is something you put around the content.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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