This is absolutely, amazingly bonkers:
The full screen animated infographic is here: Behind the Banner
This infographic is why you see so many sponsored posts on your favorite websites, including bloggers. Robots are buying and selling banner ads. This has lead to the plummeting value of screen real estate. Banners that at one time might have garnered $5 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) now generate around 35¢ CPM. This is true for sites with thousands or millions of pageviews a month. The only way to make any real money is either be a giant platform/destination, e.g., Google, Facebook, Yahoo! or adopt an editorial strategy like Huffington Post that generates 1600-2000 pieces of “content” a day.
John Battelle, CEO of Federated Media, has shared a great and horrifying animation on his Searchblog, that tracks how the robots bid and buy ads and then traffic those ads across the internet. It’s an incredible graphic, if only for the preposterousness of the system. Why would anybody want to advertise anything of value using this system? I’m not asking rhetorically. I’m asking quite seriously. I don’t know if any media planners/buyers read blurbomat (or if you still have jobs), but I’d love to know how this adds value for anybody but the tech companies providing the exchanges and serving networks.
I get that I’m the curmudgeon here. But this is a major charlie foxtrot. I would imagine most readers to this site could give a damn, but as far as I can see, data driven robots buying, selling and serving ads cheapens the whole enterprise. As always, I blame the original path of internet advertising to model itself on the direct response model. I also blame the continued push to collect more personal data and then justify the data collection by serving “relevant” and “targeted” ads. I will say that I’ve noticed ads being shown to me that reflect a recent search. But so what? When I see those ads, it doesn’t make me want to click them. It makes me want to bury my online tracks.
The only ad campaign media that you see online that was handled by humans are roadblocks where every ad on a page or site is from the same company/brand/product or as part of of content series (sponsored posts). For publishers relying on ad revenue, the sponsored post is it.
Battelle looks forward and not backward and sees this as the future of buying and selling not just ads, but of any transaction in an open market.
Hat tip: Mugs Buckley on Twitter:
Great visualization of what goes on in the ad tech ecosystem. lnkd.in/32Yk7T
— Mugs Buckley (@The_Somewhere) May 14, 2013