The Only Place I Want to See an Ad

It’s not on television. Not right before a movie. Not in the car listening to the radio during a “Top 100 Rock songs of 1995” break. Not in a newspaper or magazine. Not on the subway or street car. Not on the back of my favorite football team. Not on my Xbox and certainly not on my iPhone. Not on Facebook, LinkedIn or on some of the blogs I read. And certainly not on Adjoke.

So where is the one place I like seeing ads?

At the top of my search results on Google, Yahoo or MSN. Why? Because when I search I’m looking for something. Quite a revelation isn’t it? I’m looking for the best place to find out more about the topic I’m interested in, product I’m considering purchasing or question I want to have answered. And an ad works perfectly there – as long as it answers my question.

When I’m on Facebook, creeping on people’s photo’s, I don’t want to click on an ad for “Plastic Surgery in Toronto” or learn more about some random, local real estate agent who has decided to spend $50 on Facebook’s pay-per-click ads. I want to talk to my friends, see what’s going on in the lives of the people I care about and forget about what I’m going to buy next.

Same goes for on TV and in the movies. I don’t want to watch ads for a product, I want to get right to the content I paid to see.

Now, I do understand that changes – such as the emergence of pre-roll video ads on YouTube and other free video sites – help to keep costs free for the user. And I don’t think that many people mind watching a 15 second execution prior to the video that their friend forwarded to them.

But I do think that marketers need to be smarter about ad serving – across their entire media plan. They need to recognize that just because the media company is counting an ad on a page as an “impression served” doesn’t mean that anyone actually viewed it (but the marketer still paid for it).

Pay-per-click isn’t perfect but at least it gives the buyer a result. I’ve paid for you to go to my site and hopefully it’s design, simplicity and creative will make you think about buying my product.

Marketers – especially American ones – are investing more in search. A quick look at AdAges 2007 Search Stat package helps to show that investment in Search is well over 10 billion in the US and growing quickly. Marketers are making sure that anywhere from 30-50% of their digital ad budgets are being invested into paid / organic search results.

That being said, there are a ton of brands (big ones) who just don’t get it. And they’re falling behind when it comes to being at the top of the results page.

My main point? I don’t want to see ads. But I do want to find answers. And if your brand gives me the fastest answer to the question I have, I’ll buy it.

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