The bad news: Online advertising had one of its worst weeks ever last week.
At least four different news stories emerged casting a very negative light on the miracle of online advertising.
The first was triggered by a little internecine warfare between eBay and Google. Slate ran a piece called We Have No Idea If Online Ads Work. Here's a quote from the article:
"Last year, a group of economists working with eBay’s internal research lab issued a massive experimental study with a simple, startling conclusion: For a large, well-known brand, search ads are probably worthless.
This month, their findings were re-released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research and greeted with a round of coverage asking whether Internet advertising of any kind works at all."By the way, AdContras knew about this study last year when we published a piece about it. Suddenly it's news.
Second was an article in The Atlantic called A Dangerous Question: Does Internet Advertising Work at All? Here's a little snippet:
"...research is getting closer to quantifying exactly how few people click on Internet ads and exactly how ineffective they are. It's not a pretty picture."Wow. Big news. People don't click on banner ads. Whodathunkit?
Third was a totally laughable piece of crap in the Financial Times entitled Advertisers Have Lost The Attention Of A Generation. This unspeakable "journalism" was based on the reporters contention that teens spend only 21 minutes a day watching television.
Unfortunately, the premise of the story fell apart when it was discovered that the "reporter" got his stats wrong by a mere 6,000%. In fact, teens spend 21 hours a week with television. In the true spirit of excellence in journalism, what did FT do? They just changed "minutes" to "hours" and let the headline stand despite the fact that it was now totally meaningless.
They did get one thing right, however:
"In theory, the smartphone is the new television – a consumer technology device through which everyone absorbs information and entertainment. As an advertising medium, however, it is useless by comparison. Not only is there no equivalent in value to the 30-second advertisement but the industry is struggling even to imagine one."The final blow was self-inflicted.
Yahoo ceo Marissa Mayer was ridiculed for a presentation at the annual Cannes Advertising Festival of Wretched Excess. USA Today compassionately headlined it "Yahoo CEO Takes Heat For Stilted Presentation In Cannes." I guess "stilted" is a nice euphemism for "stupid."
Anyone who asserts that "Art is advertising and advertising is art " as Ms. Mayer did, could use a stilt right where it will do some good.
Okay, now the good news: Nobody gives a shit.
Marketing morons will continue to throw their money away chasing online rainbows and agencies will continue to cash in on the stupidity of these sheep.
And the beat goes on...