Pig-in-a-poke Advertising


Lucky DipWhenever someone tries to sell you an ad in an untested medium, become a user/reader/subscriber first.

Someone recently turned me on to Grooveshark, I’m loving using it but I can’t help but notice that most of the ads I see (when I’m browsing, or putting songs in a playlist) are house ads – looks like very few people are ponying up cash for ads there.

After using the service for a week or so I can see why – the ads are a skyscraper off to the right, easy to ignore, especially when you’ve set up a playlist of 30-40 songs to keep you going for a few hours so have minimised the window. I doubt very much this model will be able to sustain them because any advertiser that evaluates the performance of the ads will be sorely disappointed. Seems to me that the monetisation model ought to be commission on sales of tracks – oddly it’s pretty hard to get to buy a track when listening to it. There’s always audio ads I guess – making Grooveshark just like commercial radio, except you choose the music, and the ads are more likely be relevant.

Last year my company’s online store paid for some co-op advertising, to have our logo included on magazine ads placed by one of our suppliers as a ‘selected e-tailer’. We were told the adverts were to be placed in a relevant title, the adverts were primarily for Quark XTensions and InDesign plug-ins: print design tools for professionals. They were placed in a title called iCreate. Sounds appropriate, until you read the magazine; targeted at inexperienced Mac owners and containing how-to articles on how to get the most out of the software included with your Mac. If there were any professional designers reading the magazine it was largely by accident.

Just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!


Photo credit: bowbrick, Creative Commons, via Flickr

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