The Web of Disruption or a Branded Environment? A Publisher’s Choice

digitaladsToday’s Internet is a disruptive experience that serves no one:  not the user, not the content creator, not the publisher, and especially not the advertiser, who’s getting the worst deal of all.

The editors of MediaLife want to make one thing clear.

The problem with the Internet today, according to this article, “is not just whether there are too many ads on top of one another. It’s bigger than that.”

“The core web advertising model is all wrong. It’s a major force in holding the internet back from becoming a first-tier advertising medium,” the article continues.

“The web ad model is based on the television model–on disruption. We are forcing the user to break his or her attention in order to receive an ad message. Typically it’s a message that’s of little interest to the user.”

The Internet is much like television in that regard, and it’s growing less able to get away with it as technology and content delivery advances. Users are fed up, as evidenced by the rapid adoption of ad blocking technology. Advertisers are realizing the extent of the rip-off. And this, the article notes, threatens the very foundation of the Web.

So what’s the alternative? A new model is needed, a smarter model where consumers are not constantly disrupted, the article stresses. That model, the writers point out, is the magazine ad model.

Why would that work? For one, the authors stress that the Internet is “very much a targeted and targetable medium, unlike TV, which is a mass medium.”

That targeting offers the opportunity to pair users and advertisers in ways that are much more effective, the way a fashion magazine offers ads from a high-end fashion house.

“Another classic example: A fly fishing magazine,” the article continues. “Ads and content are totally compatible, and the reader reads the magazine as much for the ads. It’s the finest sort of branding.”

This is a truly intriguing concept, and one that digital publishers would do well to explore. They have the data, they have the technology, and – thanks to the traditional publishing industry – they have solid, proven examples of how this might work.

Creating this kind of branding environment may be a real answer. Of course, how this works in a hyperdistributed content model is an important question, and may be one more reason why brands should think very carefully before ceding control of the environment in which they engage.