Internet ads are too easily unnoticed

It is not the time devoted to any one medium that matters, but the quality of the engagement. And even when the engagement fully engrosses, it does not necessarily follow that any third-party communication will even be noticed, let alone welcomed.

Certainly that is true of print, where the advertisement usually has to compete with other elements on the page or spread, all demanding attention. Similarly on screen, no matter how compelling the programming, concentration can easily lapse during the commercials.

And even when viewers or readers are united by a common interest, what is clutter for some is invaluable information for others. Any individual can alternate between either category, dependent on the moment. For instance, when I am in the market for white goods, I will welcome finding an advertisement for Currys in my newspaper on a Saturday. (Although, that said, I am now far more likely to buy such products online, and I may well use Google to identify possible suppliers.) I also go to a number of websites, some daily, for work-related and other news I need.

Yet I find I have no recollection of any banners I might recently have encountered, and an active dislike of any advertiser that places a pop-up on my screen.

Yes, search works. Advertisers’ own websites also have a value. But, other than search listings, third-party advertisements on web pages have yet to prove they have a worth that can equal print advertising or television commercials.

It is not the medium that is at fault, but rather the manner in which it manages the message. For online to grow its share of spend to match its share of consumption, it must first find a way to present advertisements with comparable effectiveness to print or TV. Unless it does, and as other media continue to command less of their consumers’ time, advertisers will face an ever greater problem communicating with their future customers.

Richard Howell

Information Associates

South Brent, Devon

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