The Problem with Digital Advertising: It’s Cheap

[responsive]cheapdigitaladvertising[/responsive]Publishers were right to be alarmed when digital advertising first came onto the scene. The publisher already viewed advertising as powerful, engaging — and expensive. Advertisers expected huge value from their ad budgets, and they got it from the quality print magazines in which they appeared, albeit it at a significant cost.

So when digital ads — with their miniscule per ad costs and their low budget production values — came around  publishers could be forgiven if they quaked in their well-heeled booties.

Fast forward to today, and while money is pouring into digital ad streams, the returns are nowhere near justifying the investment. Digital companies are advertising in print, marketers are seeing a lot of waste in their digital ad budgets, and digital ad revenues are in a sorry state.

“It shouldn’t be like this,” writes Tom Goodwin in MediaDailyNews.

“If marketers were told in 1980 that one day people would be spending time on a device that you can target with incredible data, show rich media in, measure every aspect of, update in real time at the point of purchase, it would be the most exciting canvas their imagination could imagine,” Goodwin continues.

That hasn’t happened, and Goodwin blames one simple thing: The low barrier to entry.

“The problem we have with online media is that it’s always been cheap, and it’s hard to value something that doesn’t cost much. It started as the place where you placed the leftover cash after the real advertising was planned or where smaller brands that couldn’t afford proper advertising went while money continues to shift from TV to online,” Goodwin explains.

“Advertising’s inherent value lies in it being expensive — expensive ads are like well-built banks, they are outward signs of stability, confidence and an intention to last. Cheap ads mean nothing, the subtle message from the medium is not that you have a big ad budget, but you have a keen intern.”

While consumers are tuning out sponsored content and other ways to dress up their advertising, print magazines offer staying power and engagement. Readers understand the inherent value of a carefully curated and produced product, and interact with it much differently that the digital barrage they deal with every day.

Magazines continue to thrive in an era where people are searching for value and permanence, greater understanding and insights. This is what print delivers, and why a print ad in inherently more valuable. Until and unless digital marketers understand this – and can convince consumers of the same – print publishers remain on good footing.