Welcome To AdTech Weekly
Revenues Down? Try This...
In a previous life, I ran an independent tech blog. It was everything I dreamed of as a kid, mostly. I got to play with new technologies. I got to review neat products. I even got to treat it as a full-time job for a couple of years. There’s not much more a college could kid ask for while trying to pay his way through university. What I didn’t understand, at least back then, was just how intertwined advertising revenue and scale were. During my foray into publishing, it became quite apparent to me that there was a limit to what an independent upstart blog could achieve financially without chasing scale, dabbling in the rumour-mill, or onboarding dozens of other bloggers. Audience quality didn't matter much in an open exchange world.
The moment I realized what I was up against was the moment I managed to snag a call with someone on the Google AdSense team (probably a call center, I’m still not sure) and talked with them about maximizing my revenue. Google, in a rather official capacity, encouraged me to first, add more advertising placements on my site; second, blend those placements into my site by updating the design elements to match site elements; third, break up the text flow of articles and place an advertisement directly into the article between paragraphs. My memory is a bit blurry, but all of this happened around 2010-2011. All three of those suggestions seemed rather nefarious at the time, and I remember leaving those conversations feeling defeated. The only way forward, it seemed, was to mislead my readers into clicking advertisements accidentally, or disrupting their reading experiences.
Luckily, today, conversations abound about the importance of user experiences when it comes to advertising online. Heck, I’ve even participated in several of those conversations, including a podcast recently about advertising honeypots.
It’s hard for me to not point the finger at Google and open exchanges for the mess publishers find themselves in today. They encouraged publishers to engage in these practices.
I’m glad we’re moving beyond that conversation, and a new movement is emerging that prioritizes consumers…
But then I read something like this online (see Tweet Of The Week below), and get sucked right back into it all again. Ad tech is its own worst enemy. When will it start getting out of its own way?
We’re at a moment when trust is at an all-time low, and ad blocker adoption is accelerating, and how does Google recommend maximizing revenues? Get rich quick schemes.
PS. We're working on a podcast series that focuses on the future of ad tech. Can't say too much yet, but we're looking for people across the advertising and marketing industry to chat with, so if you're interested, please reach out. I'd love to hear from you. (firstname.lastname@example.org).