Why buying advertising is so frustrating June 27, 2015 cliffski You think you hate ads as a consumer? You should try actually being an advertiser, especially running a small business. It’s chaos. Lets run down the ways in which this theoretically efficient industry is so full of crap… #1 Adwords. Adwords is great in so many ways, apart from the inability for your ‘adwords account manager’ to even convince you they have read the help files, let alone have any real idea how it works. Plus the GUI you got used to last week? we changed that. AGAIN. Plus, make sure you set aside 200 man-years of effort to work out how the hell it works. Oh..and ads have to wait to be ‘approved’. No time scale is given. Good luck running something last minute. Why is my ad not running? nobody knows. The complexity has basically rendered the system self-aware and confused. #2 Adblock. Yup, you think you are cool running adblock, but all you are really doing is depriving the site of revenue and hastening the day when it closes. In some cases, they darned well deserve it. flashing, blinking ads of half naked women with sound deserve to die in a fire. I’d like to see ‘allow some non obtrusive advertising’ to be expanded greatly. Any simple image without animation, which is SFW, runs no scripts or active content and doesn’t obscure content should be allowed. #3 Account Managers. The #1 worst thing. The whole concept is a mess. I’m busy. I want to book some ads now, on Saturday morning GMT. Whats that? your ad manager is on honeymoon? Oh great, I’ll keep my money then. Lets be honest, these people only exist to try and trick you into paying more. I want the same CPC and CPM as the next person please. I don’t want to star, unpaid, in a re-run of a monty python haggling sketch. I’m busy. I take your first offer as your best, then use someone cheaper because you lied. Thats easy. #4 Being ignored. Hey guess what. Some indies make millions of dollars, sell more games than some ‘proper’ studios. If we email you asking you for your ad rates, because stupidly you are employing technique #3, then reply. Not next month. Now. You think we can’t afford your precious ad space? we will spend the money with your competitors. Dumbness. This attitude is why adwords makes billions. #5 Lack of targeting. This isn’t rocket science. If you have a video games site and won’t let me target strategy gamers in the US, you lose. You are a failure. I don’t care how cool your site is, a 12 year old teen girl who loves pokemon is not the target for Democracy 3. Either learn how to code, or just use adwords. And while we are on the subject, decent reporting helps too please. And yup, your feeble attempts to auto-renew a weekly ad to con me into spending more are noticed too. Don’t even think about doing that. #6 Overdoing it. If I advertise on a site, I always check out a few pages first. If its intrusive enough to make *me* turn on adblock, then no sale. I assume 95% of your ‘massive readership’ do the same. Get the balance right. #7 Media kit. These are useless. So your audience is mostly male and loves games. Wow, such insight. I had no idea. Not to mention the fact that I don’t believe any of it. If you did, you’d assume the average household income of a gamer is $1,000,000 a year and they have plans to buy 500 PC games this week. People really believe this stuff? Your media kit should contain your targeting options and your CPC/CPM and CTR, plus ad specs. Nobody cares about the fancy art design your graphic designers wrap the useless information in. I’ve read a shedload of advertising books. It’s a hobby. I conclude that not only are many people working in the ad business awful, awful businesspeople (not bad people, but just not good at running a business), but they actually have no idea how ads work. No idea. NONE. Neither do most people. If I worked in an industry, I’d try to at least be familiar with the latest research on how that industry’s products actually worked, but nope, not a flicker. BAH.