Reactions to Karp’s “Traditional Ad Formats Fail On the Web”

For those who have heard me say this before, forgive me but I must respond to Scott Karp’s recent post on ad formats on the web.

Advertising typically embraces the formats of prior media formats and evolve into an indigenous format. So too will online advertising. Content is already there. Early sites typically behaved like an online magazine. Now content creators are harnessing the unique properties of the web to create content much more suited to the medium. Twitter, social networks, simpler content management systems (i.e. blogs,) etc. The NY Times is link blogging for God’s sake!

With respect to ads, most other types of advertising could not lead the customer directly to further action. TV ads could point you to a web site, a car dealer, a phone number but you had to leave one experience to begin another. Advertising was about embedding a slogan, idea, phone number into your head. My daughter learned the number for Empire carpet really quickly. She would sing the song. A pretty effective ad. She will likely always remember Empire carpet’s phone number.

Online advertising can seamlessly transfer a subject from an ad to an immersive experience. The trouble is that the ad formats typically don’t factor that into the equation. They are still focused on getting people to (figuratively) remember a phone number.

What’s more, most marketers really don’t seem to want or, perhaps more likely, don’t think about the differences in the mediums. They will and advertising will get better. Now, many ads are based on altered versions of their offline materials. The advertisers that embrace the medium and harness the unique potential of the platforms are doing amazing things. Google keywords were the first but it is not the only and certainly not the last.

For people interested in this discussion and similar discussions, please attend Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing/Media (CM) Summit in New York on June 9th and 10th.

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