Facebook/Online ads

Regular reader ‘P’ has just Tweeted the five best Facebook advertising campaigns.

As the post points out, none of these have anything to do with Facebook’s regular advertising, by which I mean those messages along the right-hand side of the screen that promise to ‘reduce your belly in three days with this one weird tip’. If my own experience is anything to go by, regular Facebook advertising is of virtually zero interest to any of its users, who happily update their statuses, play Wordscraper and share photos without paying any attention to the ads.

Here we are, a good decade into the era of proper, well-thought-out internet advertising that makes money for a great many supposed experts, and it feels very much like the entirety of the accumulated wisdom has resulted in something which at best is ignored, and at worst is hated.

Take YouTube ads, for example. Have you ever done anything other than click them off, silently cursing the way they invade your precious clip of a breakdancing child? The long ones you can’t switch off are the most annoying. Large companies pay good money to put a 30-second message on a clip (which always feels like it lasts a minute) that either pisses you off or causes you to look at something else until your real clip is ready.

And that’s part of the problem with advertising on the net: you’re never more than a click away from another site you’d rather spend time on to avoid being bored by an ad.

The Ad Contrarian goes into all this in far more detail than I do, but has it really not occurred to any marketers that advertising on the main internet sites is something that can actively damage the perception of their brand? The unfortunate fact for them is that we all started on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube when they were free, so when ads come in we feel that something good that we really liked has been ruined/violated by the introduction of unwanted interruptions. If they were free once, why can’t they continue being free? And as for the brands that want to access all your information in return for the opportunity to watch a clip, well they just seem creepy and aren’t exactly offering very much in return for such riches.

Going back to the top of this post, it’s clear that the only things that really work in these environments are ‘ads’ that offer some kind of reward in the form of entertainment, offers or information. But that’s as it’s always been: we like things that contribute to us. The rest will be ignored, whether they’re on TV, on posters or online.

And since this was the status quo in 2002, I’m just a little surprised that I’m still able to write about it in 2012.