In my lifetime, there has never been a subject about which more bullshit has been written than digital advertising. Except maybe God.
Anyone who has been to one of my talks knows that my favorite thing to do is go back a few years and compare the grand proclamations and predictions of our digital marketing experts with reality. This never fails to yield a treasure trove of giggles.
Recently, it has been particularly entertaining.
Earlier this month Digiday, reported in an article entitled "The IAB UK: Banners Don't Work" that the senior industry programs manager of the IAB in the UK said, "We’re learning now that it doesn’t work.”
One week later, the senior VP-technology and ad operations at the IAB in the US all but admitted that banner advertising is a blight and a disgrace, "We messed up...The consumer is demanding these actions...and we must respond."
This drove me to go back a few years and re-read a few things. First was a piece that I wrote for Digiday. The piece itself is nothing special -- just my usual diatribe against the waste, stupidity and ineffectiveness of display advertising.
But the great thing was the comments on the piece.
"What a totally off-base article...he clearly hasn't invested much time in understanding the digital display space…The reason display is so interesting is precisely because there are much deeper metrics that can be gleaned on ad engagement, time on site, visibility, cross channel tracking, post-view influence, and many others - all combined with targeting and retargeting capabilities that dwarfs what's possible in any other mediums..."
"I think you make several logical fallacies, especially the one that marketers are spending billions cluelessly on digital advertising (given the vast data it spins off). This is a ridiculous assumption..."
"...the real insight comes when you look beyond each silo and start to measure the cross-channel value of a campaign, optimizing budget in real time..."
"Banner ads should NOT be used for clicks, nor measured by such. But they can brand quite effectively..."Yeah, right.
Then, having too much fun to stop, I came upon these wonderful articles from 2012:
From American Express: QR Codes Make Print Campaigns Jump Off the Page which assures us that...
"You can flip through any magazine and see dozens of brands using QR codes."Why just dozens? Why not hundreds? When you're making shit up why not go all the way?
Then from Entrepreneur.com: Is the End Near for Traditional Advertising? In which we learn that...
"The demise of in-your-face marketing and advertising is close at hand..."Yeah, yeah, any minute now.
And of course from the geniuses at Harvard Business Review we learned the value of a "like" in How to Calculate the Value of a Like . It turns out that the secret formula was...
No, you can't make this shit up.
I can only imagine how much of their clients' money these experts flushed down the toilet with their dopey arguments, trendy jargon, delusional bullshit, and shallow knowledge of how advertising actually works.
On the plus side, they do provide plenty of laughs for the rest of us.