The "Internet advertising as direct mail" model, with click throughs the only meaningful metric, has been dealt a blow. This is great news for content publishers, whose advertising sell is based more on relevance and engagement, and less on delivering boat loads of click troughs.
As I have said many times on this blog, if you are staking your continued online media sales on delivering click thoughs alone you are toast. For online media buyers, there is always a cheaper way to get more click throughs. But media relevancy is making a comeback. The driver? Social media that engages more and more visitors while giving them the power to block advertising.
According to recent post on the Harvard Business Review:
"Early in the Internet era, it looked as if successful online marketing would follow the model of direct marketing. Data profiling and digital media would allow for deeper targeting and more intrusion into consumers’ lives than broadcast marketing. At last, it seemed, marketing would become a branch of social engineering with the marketer firmly in control. Ten years later that view looks to have been quite wrong. What we did not anticipate was that the technology that enabled intrusion would also enable defense against intrusion. From Tivo to Caller ID to social media, consumers have found ways to keep the invaders at bay. Marketers no longer rule the market. They are invited guests. If they are provocative, pertinent and entertaining they get to stay. If they are overbearing there are ways to shut them out."
The article goes on the give a terrific example of how this approach is being used to sell soap. Yup, Dove soap!
"But some brands are cracking the code of social media and discovering how to thrive in the disenchanted environment of Web 2.0. Consider Unilever’s Dove, which has added $1.2 billion to its brand value over the past three years...
The principle made plain by Dove’s success is that in social networks brands must seek to provoke conversation not to dominate it. The locus of control in the marketplace shifts from marketer to consumer, and success is built on a model of co-created meaning. In Web 2.0, marketers accept that it is enough to rouse, to stimulate, to stir.
Dove's strategy was to move away from functional claims and to present itself as a brand with a point of view. It advocated that the beauty industry was contributing to the destruction of self-esteem in girls and young women by propagating unrealistic standards. With its Self-Esteem Fund and The Campaign for Real Beauty, Dove placed itself at odds with its competitors. Consumers loved the conflict. They lit up the digital media, generating millions of pass-along clips for YouTube, clips like Evolution and Hates Her Freckles."
See the Dove campaign website: http://www.dove.us/#/cfrb/