The Web Ad Dilemma

I’ve been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately. While tools like Safari’s Reader View can help, the desire to support advertising on the web is impossible to square with the current implementation on most web sites.

Fortunately, Jim Ray breaks it down much more succinctly than I have been able to. Blocking ad-blockers with better ads

The problem may be murky, but the solution is a bit more clear, if not exactly novel: build a better product. Not a fancier iPad app, a better ad product. For all the haranguing about native ads, they have the advantage of being immune to filters and, when done right, a genuinely better experience, certainly better than green double-underlines or the “content marketing platform” ads at the bottom of far too many web pages.

Just give me a well designed, compelling advertisement. Hell, I’ll share my browsing history if that is what it takes to serve me something I’m genuinely interested in.

Engaging Users Vs. Advertising

I’ve seen the headline bandied about in social media all week, but over on Unapologetic Alex Guyot discusses his disagreement with Facebook making it harder (again) for brands to advertise for free.. His basic argument is that brands most likely already bought the likes and shouldn’t have to pay to advertise again to those same customers. He also uses the argument that small businesses likely can’t afford to advertise.

I couldn’t disagree more with his take. From the Re/code article of the same name 1, the author quotes the Facebook release

The company announced today it will begin limiting the number of “promotional Page posts” in the News Feed starting in January. That means you’ll see fewer posts from brands asking you to buy products or “enter promotions and sweepstakes,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

I see no issue with that statement. While we all know we are the product on Facebook 2, I still use it to keep up with family and friends, as well as local goings on. I have “liked” very few brands, mostly local businesses. Truthfully, those local businesses don’t use what I would consider “promotions or sweepstakes” or obvious ad-like updates. They are genuinely engaging their followers. Sharing pics of a new dish. Updating on what band or artist is appearing soon. They respond to questions and comments. As you should in social media. So if cutting down on the noise from million plus “fan” businesses in timelines so that the news feed is a truly a “news” feed with targeted ads, and people don’t miss the latest update from the mom & pop shop down the street, I’m all for it. It is well documented that brands and businesses that truly engage their users/followers are the most successful. Perhaps this will push those brands to up their game. Otherwise, it can be a great equalizer for brands and companies looking to gain market share.