Direct response advertising indifferent to ‘content or context’
Monday, April 18th, 2011
By disaggregating individual readers into their interests/behaviors, does dynamic ad serving ignore something powerful? Randall Rothenberg, past and future president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, gets into the topic in his Q&A with Adweek:
AW: If you can go back in the 15-16-year history of digital media and make a business adjustment, what would it be?
RR: I’d get rid of the dynamic serving of advertising. You want me to explain?
RR: Direct response used to be expensive—you had to pay postage—but suddenly, if you could serve five ads on a page, in a medium where your incremental cost of content and distribution is practically zero, direct response becomes incredibly cheap. There’s nothing at all wrong with direct response advertising. But it’s a business that doesn’t care about content or context—it just cares about the yield curve.
AW: This idea of the free-floating audience—a demographically defined audience ofNew York Times readers, for instance, made up of people who have effectively never read the Times. Who’s that good for?
RR: The real question is, “Is man a modernist construct or a post-modernist construct?” Man in the modernist construct is a single, unitary, consistent being. Post-modern man consists of multiple cells. Reading the Times I’m a different person than when I’m watching what not to wear on Bravo.
We’ve always believed that one of the huge advantages of advertising on blogs is the knowledge that, beyond reaching an interested individual, your brand or message are tapping into passionate community. Most important decisions are based on social judgments — who else is buying or listening or laughing — and the smartest advertising leverages a communal consciousness.