Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Many still catching up, world moving on

iMedia is picking fights today with headlines including such posturing as "How Google will kill ad networks" and "the end of rich media" and such. It strikes me that there is a whole world of businesses still catching up on the new new things for online advertising, and yet we as an industry continue to posture way out in front of the curve.

That said, I kind of agree with the end of rich media - like rich internet application, new media and other now ambiguous terms it often makes it very hard to position new services and technologies - like my current pet project, Overlay.TV - using these staple terms.

Let's examine for a moment why John Vincent, the founder of EyeWonder, considers this "end" to be nigh. Findings of an anonymously fielded online survey of online advertising influencers conducted by EyeWonder in March 2008 highlights the inadequacies and confusion within the industry. The survey revealed that:
  • 62 percent of the respondents agree that the term "rich media" is too "generic and meaningless."
  • 66 percent of industry execs surveyed did not believe that "rich media" accurately defined today's online video ads.
  • 76 percent of agency executives did not believe it to be an adequate term to cover "emerging platforms" -- mobile, IPTV, etc.
  • 68 percent agreed that a new category name for "rich media" is needed (term "rich media" doesn't capture where digital advertising is headed in the next five years; it is too generic/meaningless).
  • 92 percent of agency influencers had a positive to neutral opinion of the term "Interactive Digital Advertising," finding it more accurate than "rich media."
While I agree that I could also be categorized as neutral on interactive digital advertising, I think in general this fails to get to the heart of the matter. There are many, many kinds of "advertising" that can be done in a digital forum, and most or all of them are interactive in some way. I think the IAB and other industry leaders need to set standards for describing the properties of specific advertising technologies so that the players can in turn use that to describe what is unique and different about their specific advertising. Many other players exist in this field so as part of my own product research I intend to catalogue and identify the many field species of "interactive digital advertising" I encounter.

Hopefully I will be able to share that here shortly.

1 comment:

gurdonark said...

I think that there are a lot of forms of marketing/promotion that are going to fall into an area which is not strictly speaking advertising. Thus far, attempts to disguise advertising as something else, whether it be "paid blogging" or spam posts, have been clumsy, but better use of traditional sponsorship models for worthy web projects,adapted for virtual life, and rather more subtle ways to surf the information highway promotionally must be inevitable.

The term "advertising" will be with us forever, but virtual viral promotion will involve lots of things less like advertising, but also less like the current ham-fisted ads disguised as other forms of content. That's where the fun is, I believe, in all this--getting the word out on things in new and yet ethical, workable ways.