Signs You're Doing Online Advertising Wrong

There seems to be a lot floating around the Internet this week so far about Internet ads being problematic or not as reliable, and while I certainly don’t want to just regurgitate what I’m seeing there, I do think it’s interesting and worth elaborating on. For starters, Digiday has pointed out that some publishing models and platforms (so aspiring bloggers and blog-starters, take note) are getting extremely sloppy with dishing out ads, and this is a good reminder that we shouldn’t be so blindly accepting of technology like geotargeting. This comes from Digiday, who in turn is analyzing a celebrity blog called Crazy Days and Nights:

“In some instances, tens of display ads are stacked atop each other on the site, often for the same advertiser... The site’s homepage loads tracking tags from a whopping 95 different ad companies.This type of publisher behavior supposedly violates the policies of many major ad tech providers — it’s hard to believe this is good for users or advertisers — but the reality is they do relatively little to enforce them because it isn’t in their interests to do so. The ad tech world is often paid by transaction, so its short-term interest is in driving up transactions, whether they’re good or bad.”

If you don’t understand what any of this means, the gist is this: The site will benefit in the short-term because it gets money from all these advertisers, but they are likely to be of little relevance to the end user, so they will ultimately be ignored. (Or, in some cases, the end user will see multiple instances of the same ad simultaneously.) It’s a short-term win that will damage your reputation, so watch out for it.

Similarly, Business Insider has a great list of ways Facebook says everybody is doing social advertising wrong and guess what: There’s some overlap here. This comes from last October, and the two main points I think to take away are that people should, in general, stop chasing immediate gains for big-picture damage and to also not be so caught up on numbers. It’s quality, not quantity, of engagement that we all should care about. Yes? 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as IFC’s comedy, film, and TV blogger, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. (He also co-runs a blog behind the DePaul class, DIY Game Dev.) He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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