Medium Specific Advertising


I have spoken about how the Internet is well on its way to being the platform for entertainment, information and communication. This of course extends to the mobile Internet as well.

I also spend a lot of time talking to people about the importance of “how” something is done. The premise is that what your doing is not as important as how your doing it. I then quickly site Star Wars as a prime example of this. The story itself is easily several thousand years old but it was how it was told in 1977 that made me and my mother wait for hours in line to see the movie.

If we focus on how Internet advertising at its most basic level is executed with these in mind we can develop a quick model as to how ads should be structured.

If we start with text based information gathering activities the ads should be text based ads. Some will say that this is a perfect place for a video; something that gets attention. I believe that when people are in the mode of reading, they want to read and don’t want to passively watch a video. I also believe that TV has taught us all to ignore something that jumps out at us; unless we are in that frame of mind. (This has already proven itself out with Google’s contextual text based ads.)

Placing advertising in communications is a bit more tricky. Not sure if this exists but I think it would be interesting to have an ad tool plugged into Skype IM or Digsby IM that looks for text signals as to what a conversation is about and then produces relevant ads off to the side. (Of course you would be able to turn this off.) When I think of the “Do you know anyone that . . . ” conversations that I have had, I wish I had a ad tool like this. For example if I was IMing a friend and I wanted to know where I should stay for an upcoming trip. The system would present a list of hotels for that area. This type of functionality could be extended to audio conversation with businesses/technology like Spinvox.

When people talk about entertainment in regards to the Internet, they think of video. Again, aiming at the frame of mind someone is in, I believe it should be a video or audio (yes audio) ad. I’m sure that people believe their video could get lost and pre-rolls, the last I heard were officially the most hated form of online advertising. I’m thinking of video advertising as movie previews are presented or destination advertising. This is not easy and yet I think it is attainable. (I have spent hours looking movie trailers on Apple’s site.)

The goal is then to promote interaction across all three of these mediums (and embrace contextual methodologies). I am not saying that these “rules” can’t be bent and in fact most online interactions are a combination of these mediums. Based on that, a hybrid ad could/should be created. The point is we need to work with the content and functionality that exists on the pages that are also housing our advertising. This is counter intuitive in regards to how most advertising is done and yet I believe we need to consider what frame of mind people are in when they are online and then mimic/compliment to some degree the medium they are in.

By Michael Myers