Have you ever clicked on an ad on a website? I have, once. I clicked on an ad on my Facebook page, and the ad was promoting a new yoga studio in my neighborhood in San Francisco. I clicked to get a free week of yoga.
Other than that, I never click on online ads. They are lame, boring, sometimes annoying. Maybe they are not targeted for me - I'm not buying a car, diamonds, a cruise getaway to Alaska. Nevertheless I'm a consumer, and I shop clothes, food, services. The ads don't just tell me about the products nearby me - the ads are not relevant enough.
This the quandary of online advertising: how to make marketing more relevant? Because of the internet, marketing has a better situation than ever. The advertisers can actually pay for the performance, meaning clicks per ad, not only for the assumed number of eyeballs seeing the ad.
On the other hand, are clicks the right way to measure the efficiency? And, is online advertising efficient at all? In my case, it doesn't seem to be.
For me targeted, location-based, and contextualized marketing works. Foursquare, a location based gaming and mobile application uses that kind of marketing. When I enter a coffee shop and check myself in on Foursquare, a small ad appears on my iPhone screen.
The ad with one line of text tells me that if I buy a coffee, I'll get a scoop of ice cream for free at the coffee shop I just walked in. That is the kind of advertising I want: ads about things around me, things that are relevant at the exact moment. I would spend more if I got to know about promotions around me.
The good news is that I will get more of that. Marketing will be more local, more personalized, as Bonita Coleman Stewart, the managing director of Google Sales US said at a conference last week in New York, organized by the Economist magazine.
Also, marketing will be more consumer created in the future, she said. That trend is similar to journalism - journalism is not only about delivering news anymore, but also getting the readers to contribute and get engaged.
In the future, we will see marketers engaging in conversations, as they do it now, as Jack Dorsey, the chairman of Twitter, said in the conference. He said that he has been surprised how marketers actually use Twitter - by engaging in conversations with the consumers. He predicts that in the future marketing will not be so much about the media, but about using real time connections.