B2B marketing and communications.

To advertise or not to advertise.

“Digital advertising was on fire in the second quarter, judging by results from Twitter and Snap today. That implies next week’s reports from Facebook and Alphabet could be even stronger than anticipated.”

Source: TI Briefing email, July 22, 2021

There’s something new on my site.

It’s an ad.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page. You can’t miss it.

“Why are you adding digital ads to your site?” you might ask. And it’s a good question.

This site has been around for more than a decade in some capacity. From managing events to sharing photos, this site has done a lot of work.

And a lot of people have followed along in that journey. I’ve asked these questions internally and exeternally a few times over that past decade:

  • What’s this site all about?

  • What are your expectations?

There are three main reasons (and a bunch of little ones I’ll skip over for now), in no particular order:

  1. Experiment

  2. Ads aren’t all that bad (right?)

  3. I need the money

Let’s take a look at these three reasons in more detail. And the comment section is open, feel free to share your thoughts there.

Experiment

What a world we live in today. While there might be many challenging events in our daily lives, there are also many opportunities.

And with the cost of digital experimentation at nearly zero (or starting a business, which is just a really big experiment), why not try something new?

As someone with a deep background in communications and technology, experimenting by setting up an advertising network to display ads on my site seems like a big bowl of awesome.

And as many experiments do, I’m setting a 30-ish day timeline for this experiment. At the end of the day on August 24, 2021, I’ll have a post up explaning how this experiment went and if any of my loose goals were met:

  • Technical: Does an ad network impact the technical nature or user experience of this website? SEO, speed, traffic, etc.

  • Business: I spend about $50/mo on this website and a Mailchimp integration; Will these ads cover that infrastructure cost? Will these ads create more engagement? Less?

It’s all one big experiment.

Ads aren’t all that bad (right?)

Ok, so I’m biased.

I’m a marketing, advertising and technology professional by trade, and I have a deep interest in the media, publishing, analytical worlds.

So, no, advertising isn’t all that bad. Like all things, when advertising is done in moderation, with transparency and an ultimate goal of not screwing the reader, it turns out to be pretty good.

(There are many things I’ll take from my time in the early day at Atlassian. The “don’t ████ the customer” manta is the most profound.)

In today’s world, advertising takes on even more significance.

Digital advertising is increasingly managed by three companies in Amazon, Facebook and Google that are coming under more and more scrutiny:

“The Big Three of digital advertising—Google, Facebook and Amazon—already dominated that sector going into 2020. The pandemic pushed them into command of the entire advertising economy. According to a provisional analysis by ad agency GroupM, the three tech titans for the first time collected the majority of all ad spending in the U.S. last year.

The triopoly increased their share of the U.S. digital-ad market from 80% in 2019 to a range approaching 90% in 2020, GroupM estimates. It’s a surge that comes as the three face scrutiny and litigation from various agencies at home and abroad over their dominance.”

Source.

That all seems pretty bad, especially when many smaller publishers can no longer afford to play by the triopoly’s rules.

As an example, The Oatmeal:

 


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Source.

 


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Source.

 

So, ads aren’t bad. Advertisers are bad?

Maybe, although I think it depends, and thats what I’m looking forward to learning.

  • Are the ads I show you, which I largely don’t have a lot of control over via the Google Ad Network, relevant?

  • Do these ads fit “my brand”?

  • Are these ads offensive?

  • How can I create a better user experience?

Back to experimentation: The only way I’ll know is if I experiment.

I need the money

Isn’t that what we’re all thinking?

Money! It’s all about the MONEY!

Sorta. Like, maybe to fund the infrastructure of this site and its communications. $50/month is mostly being covered by donations today. (Thank you!!)

It’s kinda like setting up an event. You want as many people to show up, however you want them to show up for the right reason.

How do you ensure attendees are the right attendees?

Add some sort of friction. Ie, a fee. It can be a small fee, however it shows those folks are now ‘invested’ in attending.

Something about chickens and pigs here.

So the money angle is two-fold:

  1. Sure, help pay for the infrastructure of the site. Isn’t that what Web 3.0 is all about? No longer investing in output, rather funding input to make a better opportunity for a greater output?

  2. To better understand if my audience if full of chickens or pigs. (Or, maybe, to better understand if I’m a chicken or a pig.)

    That’s not an insult. Look it up.

Thanks

And that’s it. That’s why there are now ads on this site.

Will they stay there? I don’t know. I both hope so and hope not.

Do I think I can cover the intrastructure costs of this site through ads without creating a shitty experience for you? I hope so.

Do I need to depend on these types of ads to cover the infrastructure costs of this site? I hope not.

And if you’ve gotten this far, thanks!

Any chance you’d like to help fund this site?

 


I’m using the Google Ad Network to help offset the costs of running this site. Rather not see these ads? Click here to help fund this site.

 


 

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Jamie Larson
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