It seems as if all really successful, large scale advertising formats have three things in common. These rules apply to everything from the beautiful pages of *Vogue Magazine* to the relevant sponsored links at *Google.com*:
1. The format is a native, natural part of the experience
2. The format is simple enough for anyone to understand
3. The format is consistent across properties and over time
Unfortunately, none of them apply to most digital formats besides search. Vanilla display advertising (eg. banners on your typical news site) is probably the number one online offender.
Not only are display ads placed out of the way, one single site can easily offer 20 different basic products (not counting options for rich media, targeting etc) and none of these products can be easily compared with one another or with other properties.
Not only does this make the online media consumer experience borderline horrific, it’s also one of the main reasons online media properties are making pennies on the dollar compared to other channels.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We can make online advertising a natural part of every user experience, more zen, less chaos and create consistency across campaigns and properties. It’s well possible for great media companies to have advertising revenues per reader on par, even beyond traditional media.
What’s interesting is that we need nothing more than just getting our act together. Content, consumers, infrastructure. It’s already there. As some smart people rightly point out, there are no silver bullets, and tweaked targeting, automated overhead or yet another performance metric will have little or no impact in the greater scheme of things.
However, the rules still apply.
Before going into how, I figured I’ll explain each rule more in detail over the next week or two. After all, we’ve got it wrong for the last 15 years, so what’s another couple of days?
Written by Gustav von Sydow / @vonsydow