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The End of Ads

Published In: 2021/01/ 26
Author: João Vital

Time is the most valuable asset anyone can have, and we, as humans, try to control it, it’s inevitable. When someone or something takes time from us, we’ll probably get angry, especially when we don’t like or want what they are showing us.

Ads are taking people’s time.

They are making people angry and are becoming more and more intrusive. If companies don’t start to understand that, ads are slowly walking to its ending.

It wasn’t always like that, at the beginning of online adverting, ads were popular, people were not used to them, so they felt curious and didn’t close them so often as today. In the nineties, online ads usually had click-through-rates around 40%, an outstanding number compared with the average of 0,06% of today (Hubspot).

Why it changed so dramatically?

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Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels. Edited and Transformed by the World Marketing Forum.

Ads are time-takers.

People are urging for time, they need to work, to exercise, to be with their families, and the little time that remains, they want to enjoy it 100%. Seeing ads it’s becoming, more than ever, a toxic moment for both companies and users, especially the ones that directly impact what people are doing.

It’s important to say that the ads I’m talking about are not the ones that appear in the corner of a web page, I’m talking about the ads that literally takes time from people, like the video ads that appear before and during YouTube videos or pop-up ads that drives you to another page (you’re getting angry just to think about it, right?).

Research from Hubspot shows that 4 out of 5 people have left webpages just because of a video ad or a pop-up ad… that is 80% of people that not only quickly exit the company that appeared in the ad, but also the website that allowed the ad to be showed… this numbers can’t be ignored.

People need to feel they are in control, and marketing have to follow that though, customers are in control, so companies need to think in a way to make their marketing strategy in order to make customers feel they “discovered you”, and not the opposite because the opposite is “taking time away from them”. Imagine a scenario: a random person came home from work, and after a time with his family, wants to take the 15 minutes before dinner to enjoy some funny videos on YouTube.

Who would want their company to appear unannounced in this person’s 15 minutes of rest? What kind of thoughts will this particular person have about the company? Why would a company want to disturb this moment? There are a lot of questions and not a clear answer, what we know is that this can´t be a good advertisement for the company…

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Photo by Jhefferson Santos from Pexels

Bad Advertisement Practices.

A common mistake made by some marketers is to look only for numbers, and sometimes even looking at them with a bad methodology.

When doing an ad campaign, a company can’t look exclusive for its conversions;

A campaign could end up in profit for the company but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good job for the Marketer and a good outcome for the company.

You might be reading this and may think “ok, but profit is good right? Isn’t that what all companies look for?”.

Yes and no.

Profit is obvious the primary goal for a company, but companies should be smart and know how to make it. In this particular example, a quick profit from an ad campaign can generate long term downsides. Previously I was talking about numbers, so, once again, imagine a completely made-up scenario;

  • 1000 people click in your YouTube
    • 20 individuals bought your product/service;
      • You had a positive ROI from that campaign;

This is what is seen, measured and often used for analysis.

What is unseen and often not perceived;

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I was looking for the perfect statistic to show what I’ve been saying, but then I remembered to make a little research by myself. I decided to go to YouTube look for some videos, and see if these topics I’ve been talking were somehow written in the commentary section. I thought to go look for motivational videos because I imagined the frustration of seeing an ad during that kind of videos. After a little research, I immediately saw exactly what I expected. Surprising? Not really…

Let’s suppose that, hypothetically, your ad annoyed 500 viewers.

Due that advertisement, these viewers will have a very bad sentiment and perception of your company in the long run if they suffer continuous exposition to this advertisement practice, and it will be worse if remarketing campaigns are in operation.

who makes the viewers watch your ad for several days in a row. In these 500 minds, your company will always be reminded as the annoying company who interrupts their YouTube videos.

Do you want to be the Company that Annoys people?

The Public Reaction to Bad Advertising Practices.

I’ve been talking about the downsides of some kind of ads in companies, however, this not impacts directly in the assumption that I put as this article’s title. Well, this topic will definitely impact.

Everybody knows how annoying ads can be, and in general, everybody hates them, especially, as I said earlier, when they interrupt something we are doing.

So, as expected, people start to take advantage of this hate by creating several apps to stop them, such as;

The most famous is AdBlock, most of you reading this probably know it, or maybe even use it, and so, the end of ads is beginning, there is a program that literally ends them!

The reality is that if everyone used AdBlock, ads have ended already, but for now there are people who still don’t use it. There is also a browser called “Brave”, who already has these ad blockers integrated and also protects you from tracking and even rewards you if you want to see ads by giving you crypto.

Yes, you read it right, you can earn money if you see their small banner ads from time to time, and not be disturbed by the ads on Youtube and all other places at the same time.

With time, more apps, browsers and tools will appear, apps easier to install and even more effective.

The revolution as started, the only question that remains is how long will take until companies start thinking ahead.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Create Ads that value your Audience.

This is a brand-new world, people more than ever want their privacy online, and don’t want to be interrupted by companies selling their products. Companies need to have this in mind when doing their strategic plan because ads can no longer be part of it.

But what to use instead of those intrusive ads?

Be part of a Community.

More than ever, social media has to be involved in every companies’ strategy. People use it all the time, at any time, and they have an almost uncountable reach.

In my previous article – The Art of No Marketing: Learn how to Engage your Customers. – I talked about how to sell products/services without selling them directly to customers.

For me, this should be the method picked by companies to use social media. Do not use social media to sell products!

Use it to share interesting content for your target audience, give them valuable insides, and show to your customers that you actually care about them.

It’s important to mention that this is helpful not only to B2C businesses, where Facebook and Instagram should be the main social media platforms but also on B2B businesses, where LinkedIn should be the main platform to communicate.

If you are interested and want to know more about how to promote your company on Social Media you can find two World Marketing Forum Guides for brand Promotion;

Companies need to interact with their customers like if they were one of them, they need to feel that they belong to a community. A community made for the true customers of a company, but to create this, selling products isn’t enough, customers need to feel engaged, listened and mainly they need to feel that they belong.

Companies need to be authentic, they have to really care about the customers because they will know. A study by Potion shows that 80% of customers say authenticity of companies content influence them to follow the brand, so it’s clear that the first step to creating a brand community is to be authentic with the customers, by really thinking about them when creating their business and marketing strategies.

Creating a community is not easy, is a very complex process, but when companies actually accomplish this, the results are amazing.

There are several examples of companies that have outstanding communities, some examples are;

  • Harley-Davidson.
  • Lego.
  • Starbucks.

So, no matter the market that companies work, there is a future beyond ads, they just have to be creative, and actually put their customers first, when choosing their strategy.

Closing Statement.

Ads, as we know them, are seeing their last days.

I don’t know if they will actually be extinct in a few years, but if they stay the same, I doubt that they will last. Of course, there is hope, if ads experts and companies change dramatically the way they make and show the ads, maybe there is a future, but they need to change, and they need to stop interrupting people’s lives.

Existing or not existing, is a risk for businesses to get involved with this intrusive method of advertising, so until it changes, my personal opinion is to think in other strategies, and there is a lot of them, companies just need to be creative, and first of all, think in their customers.

João Vital is a young marketer who is passionate about new challenges. He is currently working in the marketing department of a Portuguese IT firm, looking to put his name in the marketing world. He is just getting started, but his eyes are always in a promising career in the international business world.

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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