How to advertise to me

Advertising any product to me is becoming more and more difficult. It is not just me, there is a growing number of people who are discovering ways to skip ads almost completely in their daily lives.

In my own case, I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper but it would be years ago. I prefer to get all my news online.

I use the Firefox plugin Adblock to ensure I don’t see most ads online (see below)

This is the ENN site viewed without the Adblock plugin
Site viewed without Adblock

This is the same ENN site viewed using the Adblock plugin
Site viewed with Adblock

I used to listen to quite a bit of radio when I was on the road. Now however, I fill my iPod with podcasts before setting off on any journey and listen to those instead. This means that I am listening to content of my selection, relevant to my work, and I am not at the whim of whatever presenter happens to be on the radio.

I watch a decreasing amount of television. The TV I do watch tends to be DVDs or movie channels with no ads. I’d potentially watch a little more TV if I had Sky+ (similar to Tivo) but it is waaaaaaay too expensive.

And yes, before anyone says it, I do see the irony of posting this on a site who’s hosting is being paid for by Google ads!

So if you were an advertiser, trying to get your brand/message through to me (and people like me), how would you go about it?

11 thoughts on “How to advertise to me”

  1. This is happening more and more often, even with non technical people. In college, it’s rare to find a guy who watches television anymore (the girls, true to stereotype, all watch soaps). Instead a small group of downloaders, primarily from Bittorrent, seed a large network of casual burners; and everyone ends up watching either DVD or xvid / divx. One would hope that this would lead to greater creativity on the part of advertisers, but the sad reality is it will probably just result in increased product placement within programming and movies, and more in your face advertising in venues and the street.

  2. Tom,
    I’ve seen the usual figures on the potential of online advertising but they just don’t make common sense to me. I tune out to the ads on blogs I read by viewing with Sage and only go directly to a blog if I want to comment. When I visit a blog, even a meager 15″ screen makes it easy to keep all that stuff in peripheral vision. Like many others, I’ve become accustomed to getting straight to the text I’m interested in and ignoring the rest. I can see huge amounts of advertsing money continuing to migrate from traditional media to online ads – just because it seems like the new frontier or the only place left to go. But, I can also see a day of reckoning when the advertisers find that their investment turns out to be a great dissapointment. In the meantime, milk it for all its worth.
    However, now that I’ve taken the time to scan the fringes of your blog, I’m genuinely impressed by the fact that you have 77,905 spam comments on your blog. This should be factored into global blog popularity stats somehow!

  3. So if you were an advertiser, trying to get your brand/message through to me (and people like me), how would you go about it?

    Exactly the same way I’d target Farsi-speaking one-legged Inuits in Carlow – I wouldn’t bother. There’s not enough of you for the effort to pass the cost-benefit analysis. I’d get around to chasing your particular small fraction of 1%, maybe, but only after the 99% who are less preposterously-expensive to acquire had already been spoken to.

    Which, I imagine, would suit you just fine 🙂

  4. I don’t see ads, even when Goog is trying to pummel me because there’s Greasemonkey Script that tunes them out. I don’t see them anyway as I physically tune them out in favour of content.

    As for getting your attention – ach – I’ve got it already. no big production required.

    But if I’m a SERIOUS advertiser, then there’s only one way to go – screencast, movie. Which I can then play on my iPod video…if I wish. Any search around some of the ad blogs should give enough clues.

    Search YouTube for SmartSheet – for me that’s a business classic.

  5. Tom

    The other way to look at this is – what are you missing out on? Of course most ads are not of interest to the viewer – thats just the way current advertising works, its too expensive to focus, but who hasn’t seen something in an ad and thought it was useful. If they have no way to target you, how are you going to know about that new local restaurant?

    The weird thing is that the way to solve this is with more focused advertising which would require us to tell advertisers more about ourselves. I wonder if there is a need for some trusted 3rd party that know about us and advertisers can use to focus ads without them getting direct info about us. Or did I just describe Google?


  6. Gareth,

    the sad reality is it will probably just result in increased product placement within programming and movies, and more in your face advertising in venues and the street

    True, unfortunately.

    Tom, thanks for that. I now have a timestamped count of the spam comments on the site. That’ll be useful for comparative purposes going forward. For instnce, the number stands at 78, 147 now!

    John, you are correct that I am an edge case representing about 1% of the population. The point I should have been trying to emphasise, I guess is that that 1% will be 2% next month. It will be 10% in 6 months, and so on. The ad industry needs to be planning for this now.

    Dennis, spot on. I saw a great Nokia ad there recently too. Some advertisers are starting to advertise smart.

    Des, I research on the web for info – I don’t want ads. Recently I needed an alarm system fitted to our house. I spent an hour doing a bit of research on the web one evening. Shortlisted local suppliers, requested quotes and had the alarm fitted within a week.

  7. Doesn’t this imply that if a company wants to be successful in marketing to tech-savvy people, its best strategy might simply be to keep its own house in order?

    So, the critical things for such a company would be to appear high up the page ranking when you type in “alarm system Ireland” or whatever into Google and then make the information on its website relevant, informative and accessible – with as little sales hype and Macromedia Flash as possible?

    Thinking about this further, I’ve a feeling that we are not just talking about 1% of people here. A lot of people are advertising-immune, it’s not just the tech-literate. When it comes to any big ticket buys, many people prefer to do their own research first, and they will use the internet to help them with this.

    So, maybe we are already talking about 10% of the population, or even more perhaps.

  8. Hmmmm… the example you use of is rather interesting. Clearly you value this source of information, but yet you’re blocking their revenue stream which allows their contributors and journalists to generate this content?

    Maybe you’d prefer to pay a subscription fee?

  9. I’m sorry Hugh – I’m afraid you are jumping to conclusions there. I almost never read ENN (sorry Ralph!). I used it as an example ‘cos they display loads of ads, that’s all.

  10. I’d potentially watch a little more TV if I had Sky+ (similar to Tivo) but it is waaaaaaay too expensive.

    I’d recommend one of those Hard Disk Recorder / DVD Recorder thingys – about 300 Euro, but I reckon that they will be down to under 200 after Christmas. There’s very few gadgets that I can describe as life changing (as in you’d miss it as much as a mobile phone if it was gone), but this is one of them. Most of the TV we watch now is pre-recorded – not as fancy as Tivo but 5 mins each Sat with the Irish Times TV section does the job.

    You’re right about the product placement instead of Ads – at the moment I’m getting a free ride as less than 5% of the population is using one, but give it 18 months and ad revenues at TV3 and RTE are going to start seriously hurting.

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