Posted by: singularlogic | April 15, 2009

The Advertising Equation Needs to Change

by Paul Douglas

The discussion about the free media content model is accelerating as technology, economics, advertisers, and providers come to grips with reality. Tim Leberecht of the blog Electroniker creatively and succinctly state to newspapers – Innovate or Die when it comes to advertising and editorial. The issue being that content providers need to examine how they integrate an advertiser’s message with content.

On the flip side Leberecht cites Alan Moore who urges urges advertisers “to change the currency of advertising – from display, to something that is more like a service that enables people. That is: more relevant, more contextual, more life-enabling. That is where the money is.”

The consumer is the part of this new equation that is missing. Content provider, Advertiser (majority payer) and consumer (most of the time minority payer but many times they get the content for free). In order to keep content free or at low cost to consumers, they realize the role the advertiser plays, and pays. I contend the consumer now wants to take an active role in determining the type and style of advertising content they receive. The supporting evidence ranges from opt-in newsletters, social networks heavily supported by advertisers, and a genre of company that supports social networks like Live World and Communispace

To Moore’s point, this is an opportunity for advertisers to think more creatively about how they move from display (or in the electronic medium interruption) to forms that have more relevance. The entire media world is transforming from a speech to an ongoing conversation; why should advertising be exempt from this trend? The ability to choose one’s display advertising is a way to engage and incentivize consumers, it has the best chance of creating the CPM lift the industry needs right now to successfully monetize content. It’s clear that the old ways, holdovers from 1950s Madison Avenue, aren’t working as effectively and efficiently as they could be. Mad Men aside, it’s time to find new, privacy-friendly ways to engage consumers and create that value-added dialogue. From the content provider’s perspective, delivering a more engaged viewer, even interactive viewer, is the piece content aggregators and advertisers are now capable of delivering. The technology is there, but do we (collectively) have the will to flip the switch?

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