Mozilla Labs launched a new experiment in how one may enhance their Firefox experience using Jetpack modules. Firefox plugins have been one of the most popular features of Firefox that allows the user to personalize and customize their Firefox web experience to their needs. Jetpack may be “how Firefox might be extending web functionality in years to come”¬†according to a TechCrunch article. This article is not about Mozilla, Firefox, plugins or even Jetpack – in fact it is just about one Jetpack example called “unAd”.
The mere presence of add ons that strip out advertisements from website – which is what the Jetpack add on “unAd” does – tells a lot about the state of current online advertisement campaigns. These advertisements are basically more annoying than they are successful – otherwise people wouldn’t be looking for ways to strip them out of their web experience.
In my opinion traditional marketers turned online marketers have been attempting to shoehorn their traditional marketing methods into today’s online model of commerce and advertisements – this is mainly why I believe these methods are failing today. What worked in 1990 does not have to work in 2010; times change and it is about time for marketing to change.
What are the basics of marketing any marketing student learns about in Marketing 101?
Now you might think what does a software engineer know about marketing, but I did take marketing and business management as part of my Software Engineering and Management degree so at least to some extent I do know what I am talking about.
Grab the potential customer’s attention i.e. wow them
Motivate them to buy i.e. click through
Get them to buy i.e. click through
Get them to buy again i.e. click through again
So basically in today’s online marketing any advertisement must motivate you to click through and actually get you to do so. How is today’s online ads fairing in doing this? When was the last time you actually clicked an advertisement?
Apple revealed a new web advertisement that definitely “wowed me”. I first heard about it from a friend who saw it on the New York Times website a few days ago. Although it is still basically the same advertising model that has dominated the web i.e. non personalized online advertisement yet it did in a different way that captures our attention.¬†
This advertisement just brought the page to life, it’s not personalized but its definitely new and very creative and it would have definitely grabbed my attention instantly. Frankly if an advertisement cannot distract you for 30 seconds while it delivers its message, the advertisement has failed.¬†
Coming from traditional mediums of advertisement (print, TV, and radio) is probably not the best background to a successful online marketer. Sure some techniques are still applicable but a lot has changed. Compare online ads with traditional TV ads. Unless you get off the couch and start surfing your channels during an ad you are forced to see the advertisements until your favorite show is back on. Note that people have been trying hard not to see advertisements; how many times have you said: “Hang on, I’ll call you back during the commercial break” ?
Unfortunately for marketers, advertisements – as it stands – is a negative experience, whether it is on TV, radio, print or even the web. That is why marketers have retreated to using humor and creativity to “wow” the audience.
The next “wow” factor has got to be personalized advertisements. We have pushed the envelope on the current model to its limits; what else is there to do within the boundaries of the current model? Why isn’t it time to look outside of these boundaries and think outside the box?
Today’s market is no longer bounded by geography and websites have been delivering targeted advertisements for sometime now thanks to big players like Google’s AdSense. For example, next time you log in to GMail, notice how the advertisements around you change based on the content of your emails. If you happen to be looking for jobs and e-mailing resumes you will get ads on resume writing, jobs, interview skills, etc. On the other hand if you are looking to buy a car, then you will get advertisements on that. Keyword advertisement is getting old though, it is still considered spam and it is not personal.
Online advertising can be made personal via all the available social networks today. Facebook has currently 200 million users; if it were a country it would be the fourth biggest country after China, India, and the USA. There is a wealth of information available on these networks. One is able to answer all these questions via the social networks: Who are you? What are you interested in? and What have you been up to? The answers to all these questions are important to be able to successfully personalized advertisements and even personalize recommendation engines on e-commerce sites. We are definitely on the path towards this age of personalized content via knowledge mined from these social networks but the question is: how long before Amazon can finally recommend a book to me next time I log in based on a conversation I have had publicly on Twitter or Facebook?