With apologies to soap operas, advertising is not content. How can I be so sure of this? Because given the choice, a vast majority of consumers would prefer to consume actual content without advertising. Yes, even the really good advertising like Super Bowl commercials. And as I wrote last week, advertising is becoming a consumer choice. The sheer fact that people are willing to pay for content without advertising, content they could have gotten for free with advertising, should put what advertising really is into perspective.
I am not saying that advertising is bad (I should hope it isn't, since it's how I make a living), but I am saying that marketers and agencies who can't see past the "create advertising that people will flock to" hype are in trouble in the new attention economy.
Advertising is a value exchange between people and marketers. Any good marketer should be able to put themselves into their consumers' shoes -- and once in those shoes, should be able to answer the question "What is my time worth?"
Framing the media-buying process in this way will really help, as consumers are increasingly able to opt out of advertising using their wallets. Here's an example: On a $10 CPM basis, a single 30-second pre-roll is being valued at one penny. The question marketers have to ask is, would their consumers, given the option, give a penny to avoid the advertising?
Well I would think just about everybody would, considering at a rate of one penny for every 30 seconds, I would have to value my time at less than $1.20 per hour. This is what I meant when I wrote last week that consumers can actually bid against marketers for their own attention.
You'll notice that in my calculation I don't place any weight on if the advertising is "good" or "bad," because that's subjective -- and largely irrelevant, since no matter how good advertising is, people would prefer their content without interruption.
The marketers, media buyers and publishers that figure out how to properly exchange value with consumers in the new attention economy will be the only ones who can actually succeed with advertising going forward.
Lots to disagree with here, so feel free to tell me I am wrong on Twitter at www.twitter.com/joemarchese -- and/or leave a comment on the Spin Board.