Industry Arrives at a Consensus on Online Advertising

It seems that the industry has at long last come together. We can all agree on one thing. There is a lot wrong with online advertising.

I paraphrase from multiple sources, but most creative work sucks; too many consumers are installing blockers rather than put up with being interrupted/having their phone batteries drained; advertisers have worked out that agencies and adtech businesses are siphoning money off all over the place; no-one believes the data; and publishers are losing their shirts.

Not a pretty picture. Even if you’re Google or Facebook you can’t be happy with the situation. If things don’t improve it doesn’t bode well for the future, even for them.

Of course online communications (including advertising) has great potential, it’s just that we seem not to have worked out how to unleash it.

You can trace what has been a series of mis-steps back to the not-so-good old days when clients didn’t bother themselves with the media side of the business. That might have been sort-of understandable when the ad agencies housing the media people didn’t bother either, but once media agencies got going this client indifference was always going to be exploited.

One way was to focus on the buy prices. Lower those and the client was happy, and anyway all mainstream media were largely acceptable (even interchangeable if you limited yourself to looking at the numbers) so who knew (or even cared) if the agency made money on the side by pushing budgets in this or that direction.

Then there’s the evolution of the sales side. Media people in agencies have always had a built-in bullshit filter that activates when they meet sales people.

The bullshit filter might have worked well when most agency media people knew most sales guys; but things have changed. For one thing salesmen now regularly meet clients, and not just for a handshake and lunch. Now they talk business, they form partnerships, they (gasp!) go around the agency.

Secondly, since the media world exploded and we all started talking digital gobbledegook the BS filter gets clogged, and all sorts of rubbish gets through (and all sorts of good stuff gets blocked) when that happens.

… read on at

Originally posted by Brian Jacobs on The Cog Blog at BJ&A
9th March 2017