June 13, 2013

Half Of Display Ads Not Seen By Anyone

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that...
"An astounding 54% of online display ads...between May of 2012 and February of this year weren't seen by anyone... 
"A significant number of display-ad "impressions"... are based on fake traffic. Malicious software makes a website think a person is actually on a page and ads are served up to that fake visitor. In other scams, ads show up on several Web pages but they are hidden behind a window on a website that is the size of a pencil point."
Astounding? To whom?

Back in March I wrote...
...online ad hustlers are picking the pockets of marketing morons and their clueless but oh-so-fashionable agencies.
Only fools and CMOs believe the bullshit that the liars, con men, and crooks in the world of online ad networks and ad exchanges are peddling. The Journal went on to say...
"The finding implies that billions of marketing dollars are being poured down a digital drain."
Implies? It doesn't imply anything. It confirms.

You know what I love most about this? I love that all the "big data" geniuses and cybermetric prodigies can't even figure out that they're getting fucked blind by the online ad hustlers who are selling them this garbage.

As for the famous precision targeting of online advertising, according to the Journal...
"ConAgra's ads sometimes reached its preferred demographic—women aged 25 to 54—only about 30% to 40% of the time."
What a joke this whole online advertising scam has turned out to be.

The amazing thing is that these findings by comScore won't change a damn thing. Watch -- agencies will continue to sell this trash to their clients. They know when they have a cash cow and they'll keep milking it until the cow drops dead.

Of course, they'll tell their clients...well, yeah, everyone else is getting screwed but we have controls in place...and the dimwit clients will believe it.

As I said here in April...
When you take a gullible industry that has acted in an irresponsible and foolhardy manner to sell snake oil to its clients, add to that some very sophisticated crooks who are way ahead of the naive buyers and sellers of ads, and top it off with indecipherable metrics that are intentionally designed to confuse and mislead, you have yourself a very toxic blend.
The display ad industry is crooked. Agencies are greedy. Clients are clueless.

Watching these clowns is the best show in town.


Cecil B Demille said...

Marketers treat online much the way radioactive isotopes were treated back in the day. It's the new miracle, and we're going to find ways to use it.

Shoe salesmen, back in the day, had "xray boxes," some gimmick gadget. The idea was that, with an xray of your foot, they could find the most comfortable shoe for you. There was no shielding of any kind. No one had bothered to understand radioactivity enough to understand that it was dangerous.

The result was a lot of shoe salesmen – a probably a few customers – with cancer. Marketers are lining up around the block for this exact gimmick. They are more worried about being first than they are about understanding what the line is for.

TC said...

A friend of mine reacted as follows to the post:

Don Quixote is battling the windmills.

Why doesn't he do a side by side comparison digital vs. traditional? Because you can only get wishful inferences and approximations of traditional. So there's no way of telling how effective it is. If there's a scam then that's where it is - perpetuated for 50+ years by nielsen and mad ave.

I love that this guy has an ad for his book on his Google powered blog. Why doesn't he take out an ad in Businessweek instead? Case closed, next.


bob hoffman said...

Your "friend" is obviously an idiot.

If he is suggesting that over 50% of traditional advertising is fraudulent, I'd like to know his sources.

Second, I don't have an "ad" for anything. This moron obviously doesn't know the difference between an ad (which is paid for) and a mention on a blog, which is free.

Tim Orr said...

If all we were dealing with were "cons," I wouldn't be worried. The trouble is, many of these people – including the agencies and the online advertising gurus – actually BELIEVE this bs. That's what's really frightening!

David Kissel said...

Thanks for posting about this, Bob. You do not disappoint.

It was hard for me to keep a straight face when I read, "ConAgra is now demanding that all its display-ads deals come with some sort of guarantee from publishers that their ads will be visible to the human eye." Human eyeballs! Now that's being demanding!

Oh, and if you think we should take comfort in the ads that are seen, the industry "counts" an online ad view when the viewer has the potential to see at least one half of the ad for a minimum of one second. Really? I’m sure that’s fine…because there’s nothing else competing for my attention on that screen except for sponsored links, other banner ads, takeovers, video ads and….whatever the reason may be why I’m visiting that page in the first place.

What a surprise that “Google declined to comment on the comScore study.”

This should not have been on the back page of the journal, it should have been front page news.

TC said...

I think his comment reflects the "religion" of the digital generation. Sadly enough. In traditional media we often say that a certain percentage of ads are completely useless. Which is true. A statement mostly based on the relative quality of the ads rather than possible exposure to eyeballs. There's been cheating there too however. But it's probably not even half as bad as what's actually going on in the online sphere right now. B.t.w. I was one of the first in my generation to do online. So I don't have anything against it as such. Although stretching out on a full page in New York Times or on a 30 sec. TV spot on a large network always seemed way more intriguing than trying to make a tiny leader-board stand out on a hopelessly cluttered and more often that not terribly ugly page.

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It gets worse.

Patrick said...

I'm just waiting for the government to come in and "regulate" all this, thanks to these sorts of stories.

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