I’m planning a major piece on the problems with online advertising. And I want to hear from you.
It feels to me like we’ve driven the digital world into a ditch. I don’t mind advertising that’s helping keep content free, or cheap. But I can’t figure out how these ads are supposed to be actually working — they seem to maximize annoyance with no actual value to the consumer. My list of pet peeves includes:
- Ads that are intrusive, including autoplay video, and that make it virtually impossible to actually get to the content.
- “Targeted” ads that are so completely off the mark you wonder why you got them. If online targeting is supposed to be so effective, why are the ads so irrelevant?
- Ads for the one site you visited that follow you all across the web, even though you’ve already bought the thing (or decided not to buy it), like this woman whose Instagram is now nothing but bra ads.
- Those bunches of insulting, zero-IQ ads at the bottom of every news story about how some actress from the 70s looks now, or remodeling your kitchen, or the unhealthiest junk foods, or the one weird trick to lose weight, or the twins who were named the most beautiful in the world, that lead to nothing but sites filled with even more ads.
I have no problem with intelligent advertising. I’ve even bought things because the ads looked interesting. But there is a tradeoff here — the ads make the online experience not just bad, but awful, and I cannot figure out how this level of advertising stupidity generates enough cash to make up for that.
So here’s my charge to you.
If you are knowledgeable about online advertising, explain it to me. I might even want to interview you.
If, like me, you are just a victim — what have I missed? What drives you insane? What do you want to understand better?
If all you want to do is vent, let fly. That’s fine with me. (Just be brief and specific, if possible.)
I look forward to hearing from you.