Time to Rethink Online Ads

I’ve heard this refrain for more than a decade: The CPM/Direct Response model of advertising is hurting the internet. I say this as a person who makes money from this model. I subscribe to an IAB newsletter and it linked out to this piece from Direct Marketing news:

Digiday 2011: Integrate digital media, brand advertising – Direct Marketing News.

I loved this quote from Randall Rothenberg:

“The [digital] medium has more creative opportunities than any preceding medium in the history of the universe,” Rothenberg said. “Anyone who thinks interactive digital media doesn’t present creative opportunities is wrong.”

When I worked at a digital agency, it seemed that we were pushing two envelopes; 1) delivering a message creatively through very limited bandwidth and limited technology; 2) pushing the media department internally. The department was staffed by brilliant people. But we really had to push to find sites that would allow creative placement for whatever it was we wanted to build to create a great brand impression as well as smart advertising using the medium to its fullest.

I so agree with this statement about measuring brand effect from Nancy Hill (CEO of 4A‘s):

“When it gets to digital, the different measurement companies are not willing to say what we’re doing is comparable to what you’re doing… The industry is getting in its own way,”

I’m hopeful for the future of online advertising. I’m more hopeful that by standardizing on a sensible metric, independent publishers (everybody who runs ads on their sites, regardless of site classification, vertical, etc.), can make real money for running said ads.