Despite its dismal track record, spending on display advertising keeps growing at an astonishing rate. Forrester Research is projecting a 17% compound annual growth over the next 5 years.
As far as I'm concerned, it's a house of cards. And if the house goes down, it will take a lot of advertising-supported online businesses with it.
Here are some reasons I believe display is a house of cards:
- Interactivity has proven to be a joke. Nobody interacts with display advertising. Click through rates are abysmal and keep dropping.
- The promise of precision targeting has also proven to be a farce. Facebook, the poster child for precision targeting, has click rate results so low that they refuse to publish them. If "precision targeting" can't deliver better results, what the hell is the point?
- Ironically, despite its promise of pinpoint targeting, display is looking more and more like it's attracting the scattershot advertiser -- the tonnage direct marketer.
- Even if pinpoint targeting was real, what difference does it make if nobody notices the ads? In most cases, the physical properties of display ads render them essentially invisible. Have you ever heard anyone discuss that awesome display ad they saw?
- The amount of known click fraud is alarming. The amount of unknown click fraud is...unknown.
- The amount of known website visitor fraud is also alarming. The amount of unknown website visitor fraud is...you get the picture.
- After 15 years, can you name a single significant consumer brand that has been built by display advertising? I didn't think so.
- A high profile fraud scandal
- Widespread recognition of Facebook's display ad dysfunction
- Mobile not living up to expectations
- A major agency or research company throwing open the emperor's closet
Be sure to see my piece today at Digiday on banner advertising.