Commentary

The End Of Advertising

Forrester Research on Tuesday published a report led by analysts James McQuivey and Keith Johnston that suggests CFOs should set aside money --  about $2.9 billion -- previously spent on digital display advertising and put it into campaigns based on virtual assistants. 


Forrester sees the latest advertising revolt, like the one on YouTube, as the beginning of the end of advertising as the industry knows it today.

The idea is to shift billions in investments from bad ads that don't produce results to ones that can form better personal relationships between consumers and brands. The report estimates that advertisers wasted $7.4 billion on poor-quality display ad placement in 2016.

In fact, the report -- The End of Advertising As We Know It -- focuses on a critical change that will enable consumers to have a "world free of advertising." The report suggests "people will spend less and less of their time "doing interruptible things on interruption-friendly devices," such as home hubs, as more people use devices like Amazon Echo's Alexa or Google Home's Assistant to get answers to questions without being bombarded with ads -- advertisements as the industry knows them today.

The change is on the way. A few years beyond today "persistent personal assistants" (PPAs) will scrape all the best information from a user's Facebook feed and read or serve the content "stripped of unnecessary things, including the top 10 concerts you don't care that your friends went to [see], as well as the advertising you are not interested in."

These PPAs will not only "scrape data from Facebook feeds, but also the user's calendar, email, search history, GPS history, media and more, and will eventually have permission to monitor conversations, surroundings, and well-being apps that anticipate moments where help is needed most, such as in a medical emergency.

The shift in thinking will stop consumers from being interrupted, the analysts say. "Google made $79.4 billion last year by interrupting search results; Facebook made $26.9 billion in ad revenue by interrupting social interactions," per the report. Interruption only works if consumers choose to be interrupted. Perhaps that the reason 38% of U.S. online adults tend to use ad blocking to avoid interruptions.

Brands will move away from traditional digital advertisements and more toward building intelligent, conversational customer relationships, per the report. Consumers are ready for deeper relationships -- they're willing to pay more for effective outcomes, and mobile devices puts a brand close to a consumer nearly all moments in every day.

The study also suggests that retail will see a resurgence of mom-and-pop stores supported by an "Uber-like model" with help from Amazon, which is thriving in helping to build small stores across the country. 

It feels like a mighty task to take on. One thing is certain, the days of ad interruption are coming to a close. 

8 comments about "The End Of Advertising".
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  1. Chris Severs from NichePlus Digital, May 2, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.

    Hmmm...attacking Google (example) for interrupting organic listings is like saying the good old Yellow Page phone books had no right to place display ads before the free listings.  In our race to kill advertising, it's amazing how quickly everyone is forgetting how it works in the first place.  

  2. Robin Caller from LOLA GROVE, May 2, 2017 at 5:13 p.m.

    The report sounds like utter garbage, sensationalism, and fake news all wrapped up in headline grabbing soundbites. 

    Do the writers really believe that the industry leaders are out working on ways to ensure 100% of advertising is effective? 

    I thought they were trying to cure every illness, aside from the one that drives them to grow their empires ever larger. 

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 3, 2017 at 12:19 p.m.

    Bob Garfield has been preaching the end of advertising for many years. I imagined he is the least outraged by this Forrester report.

  4. Mark Scott from Sage Projections, May 3, 2017 at 1:54 p.m.

    I find it hard to believe that articles like this still appear in national blogs. No it is not the end of advertising.  Digital and social advertising has been shown to be very limited in being able to reach people but despite sensational articles (like this one) people still watch TV and listen to radio. One of the problems of today's  online advertising  is that so few people actually see it. I think the hilarious Mark Ritson had a good common sense blog on  over blown articles like this one. Read this and get some perspective.
    https://www.marketingweek.com//2017/04/25/687201/?cmpid=em~newsletter~weekly_news~n~n&utm_medium=em&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=weekly_news&itx[email]=mscott@sageprojections.com&eid=3353997

  5. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, May 4, 2017 at 11:43 a.m.

    This Report is not worth $499. Anyone charging $$$ for Reports should publish them to be crituqued by its peers for comments, not curated in a one way blog-like article.

  6. Heather MacLean from TaylorMade Solutions, May 7, 2017 at 9:41 a.m.

    Advertising is intended to be an interruption. It's supposed to intercept us and catch our attention and hopefully influence our behaviors. That being said, I use an ad blocker despite being a marketer by profession. When I want to see ads, I go looking for them. 

    And, despite being a marketer I have never been a fan of online ads. I just haven't see any ROI. Add to that the known (but heaven forbid talked about) ad fraud issues that plague online advertising and it is just a complete waste of resources - human and financial. 

    AI presents us with some interesting opportunties. We just need to figure them out and leverage them appropriately, ethically and I dare say legally. 

  7. Chris Severs from NichePlus Digital replied, May 8, 2017 at 12:45 a.m.

    Hi Heather,

    From your statements, it would seem that you have not been accessing the ideal digital assets and strategies to return positive ROI's for your clients.  Fraud can be managed, data can be advantageous and client success stories abound.  If a print ad appears on page 20 and I only read to page 18...was the ad viewable?  Does a broadcaster know if their radio spot was heard?  (Online) Fraud is relative based on how we set up the media, but online should work with and support traditional, not be avoided or silo'd.

    I would be happy to reach out and have an informal chat that could maybe raise your interest...especially as our firm works with many agencies (like yours), from boutique to national in scope, consistently driving positive returns from online marketing for their clients.  

  8. Allen Ferro from digiSYNC Media Solutions , May 9, 2017 at 9:23 a.m.

    I'm sorry but we're have these guys been for the last 20 years during the time that this trend really started? Media companies had set up interactive divisions in 1993. Yes they were staffed with an experienced individuals who didn't have an appreciation of each other's goals such as computer engineers vs Advertising creatives. And it's funny because only recently do I sense the melding of the two disciplines, however, the concept is still not taught in schools.
    Strange has the evolution of communications become.

    #SMH#allen ferro

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