The end of online ads?

Both P&G and Unilever have pulled back on their digital spending, materially reducing their budgets as well as the number of sites they buy on.  Procter & Gamble and Unilever have both aggressively pushed for more transparency in the murky digital media landscape in recent years, even threatening to pull back on digital spending unless the system is cleaned up. And now, it seems like the world’s biggest advertisers are putting their money where their mouths are.

Digital advertising is a mess right now.  Impressions don’t mean a damn thing and click fraud is rampant.  However, there is more than enough blame to go around.


Brands have treated digital ads like a necessary evil.  Their creative leaves a lot to be desired and they don’t believe in digital ad optimization.  In addition brands have neglected the key metrics that determine if online ads are really effective.  I’m talking about metrics like bounce rate and time on site via the ads.  Then there are the brand websites which often leave a lot to be desired.  They are often loud(visuals) and seldom give visitors a reason to stay on the site.


Too many big agencies have their hands in digital but fail to deliver real online media solutions.  With them TV is still the king and rakes in the money.  Programmatic buying means that ads often are placed on sites with some of the best rates but not the best audiences.

“Advertisers are demanding more transparency from agency, publisher and technology partners, and given problems for both Facebook and YouTube, those demands have only grown louder in recent months,” said Todd Krizelman, CEO & Cofounder of Media Radar. “According to our data, this has caused a handful of major advertisers to materially reduce the number of sites they buy on, and their budgets too.”

The hype

A couple of years ago the big hype was “social media marketing” until even facebook said that organic reach with their sites was falling to 1%.  Now facebook is trying to con, I mean convince, advertisers that they need to advertise on facebook.  The conversation around social media marketing has moved on to “mobile marketing”. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Con men are trying to convince brands that people walk down the grocery aisle with their smartphones to compare products.  [/inlinetweet]

The simple solution..

Know your audience! [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Will someone, for example, buying potato chips really go online to learn about them or will the POP and shelf placement be more important? [/inlinetweet] While most people, looking for a new car, go to the brand’s website auto websites are a mirror of each other.  The sites do nothing to alleviate the number one concern of buying a new car; dealing with the salesman.

The most under used marketing tool is the brand website itself.  Too many marketers have bought into the eye-candy that agencies propose and still don’t make attempts to improve the customer experience online.  Brands that use a content marketing strategy don’t understand that online users don’t have time to read their content which is often too long and boring.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Online ads are not going to die, but they’re going to go through a shakeout that is long overdue[/inlinetweet].  From this shakeout online ads will get better and marketers will be forced to put in as much time and effort for the creative as they do for off line ads.


About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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