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I’ve never consciously clicked on an online ad

on February 14, 2011

Yes, I’ve clicked on ads.

But it’s always been an accident.

The second I realize what I’ve done I hit the “Back” button.

I know I’m not alone. I know there are many people just like me that never ever consciously click on online ads. I don’t have an aversion to advertising in general, it’s just it’s not content. When I’m online I’m a self-directed user only seeking out content.

Just this past week I didn’t click on one single ad nor can I actually remember a single ad that appeared on any web page I visited.

But I did spend a lot of time online and can tell you what I did do:

  • I read articles in my RSS reader.
  • I read a bunch of blogs.
  • I watched a few video podcasts.
  • I listened to a bunch of podcasts.
  • I checked out articles, videos, and sites that were recommended by my friends and my social network.
  • I did a lots more media consumption and purchasing as well.

But the one thing I didn’t do is click on an ad

I know I’m not alone because no one has ever recommended an online ad for me to look at. No one has ever said to me, “I clicked on this ad today and found this really interesting site. You have to check it out.”

Why are we still fooling ourselves into believing the online ad industry has the influence it once did. It doesn’t. There are far too many people like me that avoid online advertising. When I go to a blog I mentally block out the ads that appear on the side. The only time I accidentally see them is when they appear in the content flow of the article.  But that doesn’t matter because I skip over them and I can’t remember what they were. They have no effect on me.

The only online ads that are still effective are podcast sponsorships because they’re read within the content of the show and they’re difficult if not impossible to avoid. Those are the only ads I can recall.

But for the overwhelming majority of money spent in online advertising, the marketers are not reaching desirable consumers like me. If you want to reach us, you have to put your message where we’re looking, in the content.

Content is the currency of social media and search

Every month at least 40 percent of my incoming blog traffic can be directly attributed to social media and search.

If your goal is to get people beating down your door, then you need to invite them with what they’re looking for, information and entertainment. If that’s what they’re seeking then why do so many brands focus all their production on advertising, the exact thing so many of us are avoiding. Search engines avoid pointing you to ads. And ads are not traded via social media.

If you agree with me that’s true, then it’s time to shift your creative, intellectual, production, and funds to more editorial rather than advertorial pursuits. Want to learn more? Contact me through my business site, Spark Media Solutions.

Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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