Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Evolution of Advertising for the Internet Age - A Rant, By Geekmax.

A conversation started with friends about the relationship between today’s consumers and manufacturers and how Apple has made it’s consumers dependant on Apple products, and it got me in the mood to talk about something that’s been rattling around in my head for a few years now. I was thinking about the relationship between advertisers and content creators on online media outlets like Youtube, Twitch, and basically anywhere there is content online, be it social media or otherwise. Today #YouTubePocolypse is among us, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s been happening is both same same old thing, and uncharted territory.

When I look at the battle between [TV] vs [Internet], what I mainly see is [Ratings & Timeslots] vs [View Counts, Likes, Subscribers, & Followers]. It’s all about getting as many eyeballs on your ad as possible. The traditional Super Bowl commercial costs millions and billions of monies, while a traditional TV commercial during a Ricki Lake re-run only cost like… 3 monies. The superbowl ones cost more because the networks know that the advertisers know that lots of eyeballs will see the ad if they put’em in the Super Bowl!  Get it? That was a joke about how Ricki Lake’s talk show is old and irrelevant in today’s society. Which brings me to my point. (I had a point)

Traditional TV ads in most cases have become irrelevant in today’s society. If you’re reading this, chances are you spend more time on the internet than watching Television. And If/When you do watch TV, chances are doing one of the following, DVRing your TV show and fastforwarding over the commercials, changing channels during the commercials, turning the volume down during the commercials, or just ignoring the commercial all together. Then, out of the 2% of commercials that you actually do watch, only like 12% are even relevant to you. Advertising on TV today is not what it used to be, for sure. Remember what TV commercials were like when TV was still new but almost everyone had one, but color TVs were still a ways off? I don’t remember because I wasn’t born yet, but many of them were built into the TV show you were watching, or sometimes, like on talk shows, the host would take time during the show to do a commercial right then and there, similar to the way you here sports announcers do it during a sportsball game, except the motivations today or much different. Back when all TV were still monochrome in nature, the TV host’s commercial was much more personal. Sometimes they’d have a story of their own to go with the product they were promoting because it was something they believed in and trusted. If you likewise already liked or trusted the TV host, and you most likely did since you’re watching him, then that advertisement most likely held your attention and did it’s job. This sort of thing slowly went away in favor of more ads that were easier to program broadcasts around in blocks, like what we think of today as commercial. But then you have what the Sportsball announcers do in between hut huts. A quick little slip of the beer ad because they’re name isn’t already all over every wall in the stadium and graphic on your screen. Today’s TV ad logic is this… “As many ads as possible, as cheap as possible, as often as possible, and in as many places as possible. Demographics used to be much more important, but today not so much, because NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION ANY MORE!

With each generation we get better at detecting bullshit. This is why almost no one pays attention to commercials any more and most of us have ad block installed on our web browsers. Time after time, commercials/ads have proven to be more of a thorn in our side that wastes our time, blows out our eardrums, or just plain misleads us about the product. We’ve reached a stage where most of us have had enough, and we’ve found ways eliminate the problem.

Enter… the Youube content creator. I’m using Youtube as an example because it is currently the best example, however what I’m about to say can be said for virtually any online media outlet that supports independent content creation of some kind, be it Social Media, Twitch, etc… In the past decade, corporations have gotten wise to the issue, and we’re back to having ads, made by the content creator (TV host) directly for the viewer. The ads have taken a little different shape, but the concept is the same. The ads that work best are the ones that feel the most authentic and honest, even more so now due to our aforementioned bullshit detection abilities. However an authentic promotion of a product requires that the product be trustworthy in the eyes of the person promoting it, assuming of course that person isn’t full of shit and will say anything for ad monies, and if they’re full of shit you’re probably not watching them. We only watch people we like, and we don’t like people who are full of shit (generally speaking).

Enter... #YouTubePocolypse. Today we have a situation where those who play nice with the advertisers get preferential treatment in the form ad revenue on their video uploads, and what does “play nice” mean to the advertisers? It’s supposed to basically mean “Don’t be a dick on the internet, and we’ll give you ad monies”, but what it really means is “Don’t be the WRONG kind of dick, be OUR kind of dick. The kind of dick that will say anything for ad monies.” And it’s working. Now all there is left to do for the advertisers is sit back and watch while independent content creation slowly dies in favor of commercialized content creation. Watch as the personal ad by the TV Host gets replaced by more and more dedicated blocks of ads ads that mislead you. It’s the same, but different. This is why Net Neutrality is important. This is why independent media is so important. This is why we stopped watching Television in favor of online media. And, more to the point, this is the logical move if you’re a big business trying to make as much profit as you can.

That...is what went all through my head when a friend of mine mentioned the thing about Apple’s consumers being dependent on Apple product, because there is another step. I’m calling it the “iStep”. In the age of the internet and social media, corporations can contact would be consumers directly. If they can win enough of them over with free stuff and pizazz, they might just get a FAN… and that’s much cheaper than an advertisement. You don’t have to pay fans, they will advertise for you for free! (How many Apple stickers have you seen on the back of cars. Do you have one on YOUR car? I bet you do. Shame.). With TV the buck stopped at the networks. The Corps pay the Networks, the Networks pay the TV Hosts. But with on the internet, most media is independent so you’re pretty much paying the content creator directly. There are no networks… until there are. Peace #RickiLake