The other day someone asked me what I was really interested in. What do I want to learn more about? My answer was everything. It used to be anything digital, but now everything is digital so I want to learn more about it. At first I loved video (and it became digital in the mid to late ’90s). Then print– it was always digital for me with Pagemaker, Quark and InDesign (originally it was printed out, waxed up and shot). Next was the web (which put it all together). Finally I found photography (which was always digital for me, Photoshop, no darkroom).
When I started put all those together as digital, the numbers behind it all started to matter- analytics. When I looked across the board in communications I saw the numbers outside of the web- TV, print, direct mail.
Now, I see all those things as communicating with technology. Everything falls into communicating with digital. Convergence.
Yesterday I happened to glance to the right when I was on Facebook and noticed all the ads targeted directly to me. The ads were exactly what I had been thinking about that day… SEO, and CMS. Wow.
It shouldn’t surprise me. I purchase Facebook ads, Google adwords and Yahoo BT banner ads on a regular basis. I know the targeting options and how to maximize clickthroughs to a custom landing page, but I am still surprise by how the ads were useful to me.
It reminds me how my grandmother used to read my hometown newspaper— First she looks through all the sales and any other shopping interests and then she would go back through the stories. She actually found the ads worth reading rather than something that got in the way of the information she was seeking.
It’s amazing how Internet advertising is coming back full circle where the ads are actually useful and make money just like the small-town newspaper. Unfortunately, this fledging form of useful advertising is now under attack with the Commerce Department proposing a new online privacy bill of rights for Internet users and the Federal Trade Commission proposing Do Not Track legislation.
Privacy online and Internet advertising has always been sort of trade off for me. I give up some information about me in return I receive something I want (information, news) from a web site with no direct out of pocket costs. The web site uses that information to target ads to me creating a better web experience and more value for their advertising.
Here’s Ashton’s online advertising model/brand promotion model from the December 2009 Fast Company:
Make entertaining stuff, give it to people where they already are, let them have fun with it, and mix in brand messaging. And because of the viral nature of the Web, each new consumer is cheaper to win than the last one.
Yes, Ashton really does get it. He continues:
Katalyst (his company) is a merger of three industries. A piece of us is connected to ad agencies. Because we get the complex overlay of the social Web, we know how to engage an audience and how to make entertainment for the social Web. And we know how to gain and activate and retain an audience. So we create social networks for brands.
For several years I’ve been on a kick that traditional advertising metrics are bogus and it’s impossible to compare traditional advertising numbers with online advertising numbers. On top of that I think traditional advertising is way, way overpriced when you consider their real numbers. In this month’s Fast Company Ashton Kutcher agrees:
“For years the ad business has been happy to have a completely ambiguous accounting system they’ve been monetizing off of. Now that the web offers a slightly more granular dollars-and-cents audience-acquisition metric – now they’re going to get completely granular about how they’re getting money?”
I shouldn’t be surprised that Ashton can intelligently discuss this, but I have to say that he apparently really does get it.