Publishing Has Changed Profoundly. Now Advertising Must

I read an interesting piece by Om Malik, legendary tech journalist and founder of GigaOm today. Om says that while the future of news may be bright, the business of news is still in the dark ages. He goes on to say that Madison Avenue really needs an intellectual rebirth so it can quit just adapting old forms of  print advertising to the web

Om says, ” the intellectual makeover of Madison Avenue hasn’t even started yet. We are still trying to retrofit old ideas of advertising on to today’s media models.”

And then, a bit further on in the piece: “The heroin of web media is CPM-based advertising.”

CPM based advertising without tracking performance is an issue. That is why most media buyers always monitor click through rates on CPM buys. CTR is an important performance measurement for the industry. Since our founding, we at ZINC have done nothing that isn’t an effort to drive up performance for advertisers. We’ve invented new ad formats, and iterated and iterated non stop to improve performance: especially CTR.

None of this technology from either ourselves or others on the Lumascape has yet helped the advertising business arrive any real change on its side. Basically, advertising is based on reaching masses using scalable platforms, and it isn’t ready to address the niches of a public with attention that is being sliced and diced so many ways. But a change in advertising is long overdue.

On the other hand, on the publisher side of the ecosystem, there have  already been profound changes: the closing of newspapers, the rise of curation, the arrival of the “less is more” mentality, the birth of the branded journalist, headlines that scream to be shared, pages that scroll infinitely, paywalls, listicles, multimedia features — the list of adaptations publishers have made in order to survive and/or thrive in the digital world is almost endless, and new adaptations are constantly being made.

Remember though in the advertising agency, the media planner is still buying on a CPM for reach and frequency, and then monitoring CTR.

It may be time for the (ironically) more adaptable publishing business to help the hide-bound advertising business be more creative. Agencies, now unleash your creative teams again. Let them make something memorable, something that will be welcomed by viewers. And your creative will drive users to view the ads and then that will drive up CTR and all your other performance metrics.