Commentary

Facebook Proves (Again) That Great User Experiences, Not Flashy AdTech Stacks, Are Advertising's Future

Nearly four years ago, I penned an article that outlined various cutting-edge approaches to retail loyalty, new ways to drive in-store foot traffic and the technology companies making it all possible. Tough many of the companies highlighted in the aforementioned piece are still around, none have created “drive-to-store” opportunities anywhere near as compelling as the ad unit that Facebook launched two days ago.

Facebook’s new local ads are brilliant. Why? Because they are simple, sensible and most of all, they serve the user first.

Without ever leaving the Facebook app, a user can now achieve their goal without disruption. The fact that there is an advertising technology stack and multiple partnerships playing a role in quantifying the retail transaction doesn't slow down the experience for the user nor divert the user from their intended action.

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(This is in stark contrast to the javascript-laden web which has become heavy with “ad-tech bloat.”)

As an agent who is responsible for helping brands plan great advertising experiences, it continues to be worrisome to me that these delightful experiences emerge from only a handful of companies — most of whom are consumer-facing tech companies.

My hope is that, as the world of publishing evolves and publishers start sounding more like hybrid, publisher/technologists, we will see more advertising experiences that embody the tenets of advertising’s golden triangle. And, hat they will be created by a larger pool of media companies.

The shallow pool of innovative media partners we currently swim in may ultimately degrade the possibility for advertising’s golden triangle, due to sheer lack of competition and need by the big fish to innovate.  

Unlike advertising technology stacks which aim to gather consumer information in order to serve partially relevant and largely unwanted ads, beautifully planned consumer experiences that incorporate profit-making elements in a smooth manner are the ones that win—you know, those ad placements that achieve a greater than .001 percent click through rate.

When ads themselves live as added value for the end user, a great advertising accomplishment is achieved. It is what I like to refer to as advertising’s golden triangle—a scenario where the advertiser, media channel and consumer equally benefit.  In the world of digital advertising, many credit Google with the first notable advertising golden triangle.

In Facebook’s press release about the new unit, they state that “people use mobile in 45% of all shopping journeys” and “the majority of sales still happen in brick-and-mortar businesses.”

Facebook’s scaled distribution and market power have created a scenario where, with the right partners in place, retailers will be able to track users from a mobile device interaction to an actual purchase in a brick and mortar store. That's an achievement dreamed of since the very first interactive ads hit the market.

But make no mistake, it is not technology alone that marks this announcement a true game changer.

1 comment about "Facebook Proves (Again) That Great User Experiences, Not Flashy AdTech Stacks, Are Advertising's Future".
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