Have you ever clicked on an online ad purposefully? I never have and over the years have instinctively learnt to filter them out subconsciously; I simply don’t give them any focus or attention, I go straight for the content. I may possibly be atypical but this begs the question of whether pouring money into online advertising really brings a worthwhile return on investment. A recent study adds more fuel to the fire as it found that “only 6% of people online are contributing 50% of the clicks to display advertisements” and that the majority of these click-throughs did not convert into sales.
Photo by dnorman
This is what my marketing profile looks like:
- I don’t click on web adverts/sponsored links ever, if you force a pop-up ad on me goodbye
- I don’t buy the special offers in supermarkets unless it is something I was planning to buy anyway
- I don’t window shop, I know what I want beforehand, and I go get it (sometimes after viewing online)
- I don’t follow fashion, I use things till they are worn out usually (exception: Apple)
- I don’t read spam, you better have an unsubscribe option for your newsletter
- I don’t like personalised advertising ala Facebook Beacon but I don’t mind Amazon-style recommendations
I am not a marketer’s dream. Maybe it’s a male thing?
Aside from this unfortunate reality, there is a side to marketing in general that I find particularly unethical; playing on people’s sensibilities to sell them things they don’t really need or want. It also sometimes feels like a lot of these things are targeted at those most vulnerable (e.g. children / those with low income) which is pretty deplorable if we contend with any notion of social responsibility. Even the concept of viral marketing has been sabotaged by those wanting to make a quick buck making me even more cynical about the whole business.
Coming full circle, the only real way to build an audience or a brand is to provide something which is genuinely useful to the consumer (What is good content?). If you can manage this then to an extent it will market itself. Gimmicks/promotions only have a short life cycle and presentation will only get you so far; once the illusion is gone those valued eyeballs won’t be coming back…
Feel free to comment if you disagree or have a different point of view 🙂