Advertising Is Failing: We Need To Save The Web

Advertising Is Failing: We Need To Save The Web
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In this guest post, Rakuten Marketing’s MD Anthony Capano (pictured below), argues a bad ad experience is not only bad news for the viewer but the publisher, too. Here’s his tips on fixing it…

Negative consumer attitudes, driven by poor advertising experiences, are diminishing the ability of publishers to provide free content to consumers. And whilst the evolution of digital advertising has marked outstanding innovation in advertising-technologies, the industry has failed to modernise the way advertising is measured to match the complexity of today’s consumer journey.

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Marketers have more insight than ever before into the demographic profiles of the audiences they’re targeting. Age and gender are no longer the only data points available to marketers, consumers can now be targeted based on: Level of education. Suburb. Marital status. Political affiliation. Shopping habits. Salary.

And to know this much about a person for such precise categorisation is the greatest marketing tool, however advertisers are failing to utilise the data available in order to drive better advertising and enhance the consumer experience. Advertising can often feel disingenuous, and for the industry, this is coming at a hefty price. The damage of ad blocking alone is estimated to be more than $20 billion in lost ad revenue.

It’s too disruptive                

A Rakuten Marketing global survey was undertaken by consumers from Australia, the UK, the US, France and Germany to better understand their attitude towards digital advertising. The results revealed that the quality of digital advertising is worsening, with 58 per cent of consumers believing there is a connection between online advertising and other disruptive content or fake news. Furthermore, there is an unnecessary duplication of content, with 70 per cent of consumers reporting they have been served ads for products they’ve already purchased.

By intending to reach consumers throughout the path to purchase without the use of data fuelled strategies, marketers have become too aggressive at the expense of brand trust. In a new code introduced by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), social media ‘influencers’ now need to be transparent about their relationship with brands and advertisers. And the impact reveals much about the low regard in which consumers hold advertising. Rakuten’s survey results found that despite valuing an influencer, consumers were less likely to believe a product review if they knew the blogger had a relationship with the brand they were reviewing.

In an effort to create intimate relationships with customers, advertisers have forgotten that humans are highly complex, emotionally driven beings who are motivated by an innate desire to reach a higher-level of self-fulfilment. Their approach has been so wrongfully executed, that they appear inauthentic and fail to build consumer trust.

We can do more, by doing less

Some 81 per cent of consumers want advertisers to know that advertising is accepted when the content is useful and not disruptive. Additionally, a majority acknowledge that ads enhance their shopping experience, with a further 66 per cent of consumers intentionally having clicked on an online ad with the intention to shop or buy.

The receptiveness to advertising still exists, it’s the approach that needs to change. Consumers are demanding less frequency and craving greater transparency. It is the role of marketers to listen to these desires and act accordingly.

Marketers should stop looking at advertising metrics as if they only exist in-and-of themselves, and start looking at the broader context around the entire consumer experience. Rakuten Marketing recommends advertisers:

  1. Invest in gaining insight and an understanding of the complete consumer journey through attribution, allowing adequate examination of both behaviour and performance
  2. Create targeted strategies fuelled by data driven insights
  3. Cap the frequency of ad impressions
  4. Change the visual positioning of placed ads to ensure it doesn’t interfere with content
  5. Adhere to AANA regulations for disclosing advertising relationships

If advertising can reposition itself in this way, there will be less scepticism and a higher likelihood that the willingness of the consumers to engage will improve.

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