I had the opportunity to read a truly awful piece of nonsense this weekend about the "viewability" problem with online advertising.
This putrid thing was written by the ceo of an online media company. He wasted 10 minutes of my life with a logic-torturing argument that came to the conclusion that invisible ads are actually a good thing.
Of course, as we have written many times before, all these knucklehead apologists (for the fact that half of all online ads never appear before a live human) start with the John Wanamaker quote about "half my ads..." you know the rest. The morons always start with this quote. Always.
Then they try to equate invisibility with inattention:
"When do we hear about TV ads not being watched, or how about radio ads not being heard? Or even newspaper ads when the page is not turned?"Okay, amigo, I'm going to explain this to you and your drooling propagandists one more time. Then I'm going to show it to you with pictures -- like a 5-year-old -- so maybe you'll get it.
There is a difference between people not paying attention to an ad, and an ad not running. All advertising is subject to inattention (especially your precious banner ads.) But if 50% of online ads are invisible (as The Wall Street Journal reported) then an online advertiser is in double jeopardy.
First, half his ads don't appear. And then the half that do appear are still subject to "the Wanamaker effect."
Here it is in pictures.
We start with two campaigns (represented below by two ads for Billboard magazine.) One is a traditional ad and one is an online display ad.
When only half of the advertising you are buying is visible, and half of that is ignored, 75% of you advertising money is wasted.
The truth, of course, is much more damaging to online advertising because way more online advertising is ignored than TV advertising. But I'm too exhausted to get into that.
The great thing about this guy's article is that once you get past the stupidity, you get to the real point. He thinks invisible advertising is not a problem because even though the advertiser gets royally screwed, it still provides him -- the ceo of a media company -- with precious data.
I've got news for you, pal. Advertisers aren't in business to provide you with anything.