Online publishers capture amazing amounts of data about their readers. As a student of consumer behavior, I see a great opportunity to use the data in a novel way: try to identify and categorize patterns of behaviors, and then use a combination of performance data and possibly some neuromarketing experiments to figure out when and where readers are most likely to be receptive to advertising.
The premium publishing business online is an unequivocal disaster because we operate it as if consumers will always visit our sites regardless of how badly we treat them. The mentality from the very beginning was, don't worry about this month's audience returning to the site. There will be a brand-new group next month. So let's call them unique monthly users, and let's use them back however we see fit.
Timing, as they say, is everything. This age-old saying appears to have been completely forgotten in today's digital world: If you ask online publishers and advertisers when is the best time to reach a reader with a promotional message, the answer seems to be "any time." And this, in my opinion, is the most egregious mistake that publishers are making in the way they treat their readers.
Headlines are bursting with praise this week for the growth of this segment of digital advertising: "Online Digital Video Soars" according to some guy named Joe Mandese. There was also a commentary piece in Adweek that sources a study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (conducted by Advertising Perceptions) diving into the reasons behind this soaring growth.
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