November 24, 2014
Display Advertising Is Poison
Display advertising is ugly and infuriating. It never stops. It never leaves us alone. It is ubiquitous and toxic. It is polluting the web.
About 30% of online ad dollars are spent on display advertising. But display is responsible for about 100% of the maddening stupidity and annoyance of the web.
As a general rule, things that are successful expand. But it is the opposite with display ads.
Because they are so ineffective we get more and more of them. The rate of clicking on banner ads is so tiny, that for a media genius to deliver the 100 clicks she promises a client she has to buy over 100,000 impressions.
And so, in trying to achieve goals, an enormous amount of ads must be bought. And splattered all over everything we are trying to do online.
Also, because they are so ineffective, they are ridiculously cheap. And they keep getting cheaper. The result is that every creepy company in the world can afford these things and annoy the shit out of us with them.
When you watch a TV program you get somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 minutes of entertainment for your 8 minutes of annoying advertising.
Online the ratio is reversed. You often get six or seven display ads for your one page of "content." (By the way, Facebook is one of the few sites starting to show a little restraint by upping their ad rates and running fewer ads.)
I am an ad guy and I know that advertising provides us with a whole lot of free entertainment and information that most people don't appreciate. While I may find a lot of advertising annoying, and most forms of online advertising misguided, I don't hate them. But I hate fucking display ads.
Display has become the dregs of advertising. If being ugly and stupid isn't bad enough, the whole culture of the display industry is corrupt and infested with creeps, charlatans, and crooks.
Display is poison and it needs to be reformed.