October 13, 2016

The 3 Stages Of Online Advertising

I believe that long after I’ve left the advertising world for a better one, people will look back and say that the era of online advertising could be divided into 3 stages.

Stage 1: "Fools Rush In"

This is the stage we’ve been in for the past 10 years. Tens of billions of dollars have been flushed down the digi-drain by marginal marketing meatheads trying desperately not to fall behind the stampeding herd in the pursuit of up-to-the-minuteness.

Egged on by bumbling amateurs… oops, sorry…online experts, they have thrown every dollar they could find at the mythical “brand advocate” who was sitting at home exhausted after her Herculean “customer journey” just waiting to express her “brand love” to cyberworld once she received the bat signal in the form of a Twitter post.

It would be wonderful if this stage could continue forever because it's been a lot of laughs. But I’m afraid it’s had its day.

Stage 2: "Wait A Minute"

A US Senator named Everett Dirksen once said the three most important words in the English language are "wait a minute." We are about to transition into the “wait a minute” stage.

All the marketing geniuses and their agency enablers are no longer going to have free rein to piss money away on infantile digital daydreams.

Suddenly, c-suite lemmings who were pressuring marketing departments for more and more delusional online schemes, are starting to say, “Hold it. What are we getting for all this money?”

The numbers, metrics, and data that just one year ago were proof of how amazing the web is are suddenly morphing into proof of how fucked up it is.

We are just at the beginning of this stage and it’s not going to be nearly as entertaining as the first stage when “the stupider the better” was the rule (Tell us your Philadelphia Cream Cheese story!)

Instead we’re going to be slowly tortured by dueling flavors of data-death. It's going to be painful.

Stage 3: "Oh, Now I Get It"

Sometime in the future — could be 2 weeks from now or 10 years — someone’s going to figure out how to use the web for advertising in a sensible way.

There will be numbers we can trust, people we can trust, and results we can trust.

When you see this happen, please drop me a line.

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