September 30th 2014
One of the most important features of a website is the advertising. If you’re a website owner you’re probably nodding your head in agreement as you fill up your golden bathtub with fat stacks of cash. If you fall on the visitor side of things you’re probably updating your AdBlocker as you cackle madly while leaving websites crashing and burning with unpaid server bills in your wake.
Advertising is kind of a sticky subject. On the one hand, it can be incredibly obnoxious. Watching a thirty second ad for a forty-five second YouTube video isn’t too fun. But on the practical hand, advertising is the lifeblood of just about any business. Whether you’re hosting or buying, you’re likely on at least one side of the ad game. And it’s not a new byproduct of the modern age. Soap operas got their name because of the household products that would present the shows. Even the Roman gladiators had sponsors.
Finding a balance is tricky, but when executed properly, advertising is advantageous to everyone. I hate seeing a website that’s slathered in ads just as much as the next person. But if it’s a few well-placed ads that use my data responsibly to target me specifically, I’m okay with that. If I’m looking to buy a new camera lens and my browser cookie are telling advertisers, “hey he’s looking for this kind of product” and I see lots of ads with things I’d like to buy anyway, it can actually be helpful. I might see a deal or website that I hadn’t noticed before.
Advertising can be most effective when it offers itself as an all-around positive experience. With that attitude, it rewards everyone. The greatest advertising will be more than just a billboard. That’s why everyone loves Super Bowl ads. Commercials of that quality are so top-notch because they know that no one is going to talk or care about a glorified Power Point presentation. Instead they craft pieces of entertainment that people will enjoy so much they’ll share them with their friends the way they would a Saturday Night Live skit.
As satirical and dystopian as it may sound, many ad campaigns have become a part of our national pop culture. Not because they strong-armed their way in, but because smart advertisers gave consumers something they could interact with and enjoy. Consumers enjoyed those ads and did the rest of the work. And now the Planters peanut, the Energizer bunny, the Geico lizard, and Ronald McDonald are all characters who have taken their place next to the likes of Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse, and Yoda. Even certain brands like Coca-Cola and Ford have taken on the same characterizations that an American might attribute to “baseball and apple pie.”
Of course there can be a certain cynicism in watching an ad. No matter how high the production values are, no matter how many heartstrings it pulls, it’s really about the money, isn’t it? Well, yes. If you run a business, you need to make money. But you have to get the word out somehow, so why not make that word look and sound as good as possible? Why not take the chance to make something that your target audience will enjoy? One of my absolute favorite ads of all time is Chrysler’s 2011 Super Bowl commercial with Eminem. I know it was made to sell cars and rebrand a company that was under a lot of scrutiny for their recent financial troubles. But it’s sincere. It sends a message about hard work and perseverance that rings true. And I respect that.
Advertising can be funny, personal, sad, or exciting. It can be a great way to tell a small story in a minute or two. People aren’t stupid. We all know why ads exist. But potential customers will respond better to a company that rewards their attention and puts in effort to getting their business.
Case in point about ads: this post is an ad. But if you’ve gotten this far you (probably) enjoyed reading it. Yes, I’m getting paid to write this and it’s designed to draw attention to our services. But this is a topic I actually care about and find interesting. And maybe now you’re thinking about it too.
We support ads in our app framework. Remember when we talked about how cluttered a desktop site gets on a mobile device? With too many ads, it’s easy for them to get shoved around and rearranged. Wovax gives you control over the ads in your app and supports ads from just about any ad service out there so that when you go mobile, you can keep business going as usual. And we’re taking our own advice by getting ready to launch our own commercials: so keep an eye out!