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How To Advertise To Humans


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If aliens were to visit the Earth to understand human culture, they would likely be very confused by our advertising efforts. After surfing the web for a few weeks, they might wonder to whom all those ads were targeted. Clearly, it couldn’t be the humans. That is because even aliens could tell right away that almost everything advertisers do is the exact opposite of what humans would positively respond to.

Here are some of the most common mistakes advertisers routinely make:

Advertising to Bots.

If you want to advertise to humans, the first thing you want to do is direct your advertising efforts to human eyeballs. As it happens, most online advertising is not seen by humans at all, but by robots.

One of the companies hoping to change all that is RevTap, a company that partners with both publishers and advertisers with original take on monetizing and advertising CAPTCHA. According to them, 60% to 90% of online traffic are bots, not humans. Ad impressions do not help your ROI if they are not impressing humans.

What you’re paying for is a human audience. What you’re getting is an audience of bots. What RevTap and others are trying to do with CAPTCHAs is guarantee a human audience to ensure effective advertising. Be sure to choose a platform that puts your message in front of humans, not robots.

Making the User Angry.

Remember popup ads? You would click to visit a site. But instead of being shown the content you were looking for, another page would pup up in front of the page you wanted. Now, you have to close that page. Advertisers fought back, making it difficult and tricky to close the page. Once we got wise to that, they incorporated the pop-under, where pages would spawn underneath your page. When you closed the window, ten other windows would be open for you to deal with. Sometimes, you had to restart your computer to get rid of them.

Before long, every browser came standard with a popup blocker built in. But other types of Internet ads were invented that were even more aggressive. Some pages automatically start playing audio or video that you can’t shut off. YouTube often makes you watch a 30 second ad to see a 15 second video. As a result, ad blocking software was written for all browsers, and is becoming mainstream.

PageFair reports that “…up to 30% of web visitors are blocking ads, and that the number of ad blocking users is growing at an astonishing 43% per year.” This didn’t happen because people don’t want to see ads. It happened because advertisers became too greedy, and aggressively hostile towards users. The average webpage is so cluttered with ads of every type, that it is difficult to find the content. These days, content is just an ad delivery system. Antagonize users enough, and they will fight back.

Enough Is Never Enough.

There was a time when CAPTCHAs were readable words you could enter into text boxes. Then, they were a jumble of letters, then, letters with lines through them, then letters and numbers so distorted, no one except the bots could read them. A blind user had no chance of getting past them. That escalation only hurt consumers, and helped no one.

Internet advertising has followed the same path. First, there were simple ads, then banner ads taking up a lot of screen real estate that people learned to filter out, then page takeover ads. Completely ignoring the value of white space, advertisers feel that any space on the page should be used for yet another ad. Content is reduced and pushed to the side to make space for more revenue-producing ads.

At no point does a content provider say enough is enough. Many podcasters who started off saying that they would never do ads, now do five to ten minute long ad spots multiple times throughout their broadcast. Two spots becomes three, becomes four, becomes however many they can book.

Advertising to bots, making users angry, and always wanting more, are three of the biggest mistakes common to almost all content providers and advertisers. The solution starts with you.


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