With most things in our life, as information and technology become available, they improve. Even advertising...most of it at least. Look at billboards for example. They started out as a single billboard with a piece of vinyl that faded over time. Now we have amazing digital billboards. The digital billboards allow for more creativity from the advertiser, more ad revenue for the billboard owner, and even another side advantage, they are probably safer because you don't have people crawling all over them to change the vinyl!
So How is Online Advertising Improving?
There are 2 major components that I believe are benefits to both the advertiser, the user, and the platform.
First, relevancy. I know that some people think this is a bit creepy, but wouldn't you rather see ads to products, services, and topics that you are actually interested in? This doesn't mean that as users we aren't still bombarded with advertising, because we are. But...the ones that are relevant tend to stand out and are more likely to lead to a conversion at some point down the road.
The general public is not too afraid to share nearly everything about them and technology can now keep good track of that information. If you combine those things as well as the desire for advertisers to serve targeted ads, you get a nice serving of relevant advertising!
Second, decreased annoyingness. No, that's not a word...but it's the best word to describe it. In the past we were bombarded with ugly display banner ads. These ads had nearly 0% CTR. In fact, there is a stat that says you are more likely to become a Navy Seal than to click a banner ad. Some banner ads are still quite annoying, but the frequency they are seen has diminished significantly. The best example that I can provide for how this has improved advertising is related to Facebook. The traditional Facebook ads were located on the side of the website and were sometimes relevant, sometimes not. Now Facebook ads are shown right along your news feed.
Facebook ad click-through-rate has increased 4.5 times what it was a year ago! Yes, some of this might be caused by confusion of not knowing what is a true story vs. paid. But I would argue that is a good thing as well. If these ads are good enough to appear as an organic news feed story, they are blending in well. Blending in well means less annoyingness (yes, there's that word again).
This isn't a complete win for advertisers are the cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate and average cost-per-click (CPC) has increased as well. CPM has nearly tripled while CPC is up by 29%.
Not Everyone is Happy About These Advertising Improvements
When was the last time you remember that everyone was happy about something. NEVER. We have to be mad at something. The fact is people love access to these free tools such as Google, Facebook, Bing, Twitter, etc. They have to make money some how. If you can come up with a way that Google can make the same revenue without serving ads, I'm sure they would be happy to listen. Until then enjoy relevant advertising that doesn't make you want to rip your hair out.
Do you have a product or service that would benefit by serving targeted ads to people? Of course you do. Let us know, we want to help you build and implement your strategy effectively!