Monday, September 30, 2013

To make ads not feel like ads...don't show bad ads

In the ideal world (or, to some, the ideal nightmare), advertisements will be perfectly attuned to your needs.

For example, let's say that it's 5:30 pm and you're working late. You want to grab a quick bite to eat, but you're not sure where to go. In the ideal world, an advertisement would appear for a quick service restaurant within a short driving distance of your workplace, for a type of food that you enjoy.

We're not in that ideal world yet. Just recently, I noticed that Facebook presented a day trading ad to me. Note to Facebook: when I buy stocks, I don't plan to unload them within minutes or hours.

Apparently Facebook is listening:

"When deciding which ad to show to which groups of people, we are placing more emphasis on feedback we receive from people about ads, including how often people report or hide an ad," Facebook said.

"If someone always hides ads for electronics, we will reduce the number of those types of ads that we show to them," the company said.

To which the proper response is...duh!

Now I will grant that it may be appropriate at times to show advertisements that people aren't seeking. People may not know that a particular service is available, so they wouldn't think of seeking information about it. In this case, the ad is informative and could potentially lead to a purchase.

But when people express displeasure toward a particular ad, you don't gain anything by showing the ad to them anyway. Showing me a day trading ad isn't going to make me into a daytrader, no matter how hard you try.

Now the only thing that needs to happen is for advertisers to make ads that are so compelling that people will want to see them, rather than reading the TV show or web page that is displaying the ad.

And considering the quality of TV shows and web pages today, that shouldn't be too hard to do.
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