Chapell & Associates

Friday, November 25, 2005

How Google Tamed Ads on the Wild, Wild Web

New York Times - November 20, 2005
Five years ago, Web advertisers were engaged in an ever-escalating competition to grab our attention. Monkeys that asked to be punched, pop-ups that spawned still more pop-ups, strobe effects that imparted temporary blindness - these were legal forms of assault....Today, Web advertisers by and large have put down their weapons and sworn off violence. They use indoor voices now. This is a remarkable change. Thank you, Google.

The Chapell View
By focusing on the effect of text-ads, Randall Stross has put together a very interesting analysis of the changes to online advertising in the last five years. His argument that this change depended first and foremost on Google's entrance to the market is compelling: as he notes, there were those using text-ads before Google, but not in the way we've come to expect today.

One of the greatest parts of the change from "monkeys that asked to be punched" to the ubiquitous four-line ad next to search results is the benefit to the consumer. And with this has come a change in marketing perspectives. Stross quotes Brian McAndrews, the chief executive of the online ad agency Avenue A as saying in 2001, "Just because something is intrusive doesn't mean it's bad."

Strikingly, Mr. McAndrews, now heading up aQuantive, is of a different mind these days. "The key is no longer intrusiveness; today the mantra is relevance," he said recently, according to Stross.

There are, I expect, more reasons for the increased focus on relevance and consumer control than just Google. But whatever their role, we're all reaping the rewards today. Online ad spending hit record highs this year (and quarter), and consumers no longer have to deal with quite so many intrusive - or even malicious - forms of advertising. In giving consumers an actual value proposition, we've found ourselves a far more sustainable business model.
posted by Isaac on Friday, November 25, 2005

© 2005 by Alan Chapell & Associates LLC