Advertising has been a part of human life since we’ve developed media for mass consumption. It was key to radio, with corporations sponsoring entire bands or musical hours, and the trend carried over into television and newspapers too. Yet ads on the Web seem to strike a particular nerve for some users. So much so that people have deployed ad blockers, and even actively campaign against certain websites’ efforts at getting around advertising (like the New York Times pay wall).
Ads make the Web go round, and they are just as integral to media today as they have been for the past century.
Ads Fuel Needs
People have a need to consume unique content, and blogs fill that void. Blogs rely on ads in order to generate revenue, which in turn fuels the content. Without advertisers bidding on a site’s traffic, the staff couldn’t grow and the bloggers couldn’t hire additional writers to bring new ideas. Even if a single webmaster runs the blog, he or she would have no revenue to pay for quality guest bloggers that produce well-researched and interesting content. Selling this traffic by oneself is highly inefficient but also highly time consuming. Bloggers utilize ad networks to efficiently sell their traffic with thoughtful ad placement.
Ads also help provide a useful or intriguing experience. A good example would be a website like YouTube or Twitch, where videos can be longer than a few minutes. Advertising occurs over the video and sometimes within the video itself. Users generally aren’t complaining about the ads because the exchange is worth their time. They get valuable information, like a review or a tutorial, with only a fraction of time dedicated to advertising.
Ads Fuel Improvement
If there is no content, then it follows that there is no need to improve upon the Web or add functionality. The Web would be stuck in its early days, when it was used for relaying information and sending messages back and forth. Based on what we know today about concepts like crowdsourcing and sharing, that’s a poor utilization of the Internet. Ads drive websites to deliver content faster. While they do take up some of the bandwidth, ads force innovation to reduce the use of assets on the page.
Instead of looking at the positive aspects of ads, there is a double standard. Perhaps that mentality comes from intrusive or poorly targeted ads. As advertising technology moves into the future, the hope on all sides is to match the right ad to the right consumer. For advertising to continue its positive role in fostering Web development, the technology must continue to evolve.
Bio: Ted Dhanik is a passionate business leader in the world of digital advertising. As the CEO and co-founder of engage:BDR, Ted Dhanik is a technology evangelist. For more insight into how digital media and marketing shape each other, contact Ted Dhanik at engage:BDR.