Is Web Advertising Doomed?

On “The Next Net”  there’s a good video with a number of web luminaries discussing the future of web advertising. It’s a short clip but Mary Hodder’s comments (of Dabble) point to a possible future – Users selecting ad content when they forward stuff. Sounds complicated but I think what she’s suggesting is when I forward something I have an option of including the advertising that comes with the content – or choosing from a set of alternative ads linked to that content that may better match who I’m sending it to. In a sense I am the relevance engine because I know the person or community better than any algorithm will.

Then over at VCMike’s There is an interesting discussion of Video Ad formats and business models for TV, mostly by Diane Mermigas of the Hollywood Reporter. What’s suggested by both articles is that traditional media advertising is about to be changed by the online methods. Relevance is replacing location and time, Algorithms replacing placement services and connection with an end user profile replacing connection with a media type. The major effect predicted is upfront ad spend will be shifted to time of consumption. Oh! And Google will get richer. 

My perspective has been that the rise of social networks, even inferred ones, open huge new possibilities for linking people more authentically to products and services that are relevant to them that click ads. It’s not that click ads aren’t effective – they are. But a lot of infrastructure is spend delivering billions of impressions with more ‘relevance’, a little cheaper and with about the same effectiveness of ads always had.


Sure some new advertisers can get in the game because entry costs are lower, and there’s a ton new metrics so it takes less time to understand and perfect targeting and message – but especially in hyper-local applications it also makes one think that maybe there’s other ways than funding media that the 100 year old method of mass advertising.