Ad Avoidance? Let's Call It Insight Avoidance

It probably seems like someone in my position would want to defend the forced viewership of television commercials, but in actuality I don't. My issue with it actually has nothing to do with consumer behavior; I just would want to make sure I don't pay for that ad. But again, that has nothing to do with the consumer. As a consumer, I feel the need to not watch commercials on occasion. That's my right, and I have the technology to do that.

Now comes one of my least favorite words: "ad avoidance." This is one of those industry related terms that is maddening. I suggest we re-coin it as "insight avoidance." Ad avoidance is about a consumer behavior that threatens the current compensation model, rooted in both not understanding the consumer and believing that you can put the genie back in the bottle. "Insight avoidance" to me better describes the problem, since we as an industry are avoiding understanding the driver of why consumers skip ads.

The simple answer to why is: information and entertainment time optimization. It's that simple. People don't generally hate ads. In fact, they love well-made commercials. I don't even have to overplay the Super Bowl to make my point on that front. People skip ads because they are time-pressured and want to maximize their TV content viewing. What's even more interesting is that more than half of all adults, when given more free time, invest that free time in TV content. So the insight is, enable optimization for the consumer, make that sponsored, and you will be OK. How that works, I don't exactly know--but people are working on solutions, I'm sure.

As I said in the last post, ad avoidance is a symptom of optimization by the consumer. Understand it. Innovate against it. Win. Resist it. See it slip away. The most democratic devices in consumers' homes are the mouse and the remote. Why disable them to protect your model? Understand them and prosper.