Serious questions are being raised about whether ads are really reaching their target audiences. Here's why the most common explanations are the least helpful.
You make an ad, you buy the media, and you track your metrics. But somewhere in that equation, you have to wonder if audiences are actually seeing your ad. Or more precisely, if the amount of human eyeballs that were supposed to see the ad is accurate or wildly inflated. That question, it turns out, actually encompasses several topics:
- There is the ever-popular question of banner blindness, a catchall for the ongoing concern that online audiences are ignoring ads at rates that are either frightening or terrifying.
- There's the question of click fraud, which presents a crisis for advertisers, perhaps to the tune of $6 billion.
- And then there's that recent New York Times article reporting that online video buyers are getting a lot less than they bargained for, whether because of outright fraud, audience indifference, or dodgy ad networks that place their ads on sites that should never make it onto a white list.
No matter how you define it, the "are they seeing my ads" question is a hot topic these days. Unfortunately, when you ask about it, you tend to get three types of answers, none of which are all that satisfying.