Advertisers continue to navigate the tricky balance between online ads and consumer-desired content. Of course, advertisers want to put as many ads in front of users as possible because the law of large numbers tells us the miniscule response rate nets you correspondingly larger sales. Add to that the fact that increasing numbers of users are moving toward smartphones and tablets instead of regular PCs, and mobile online advertising becomes even more important.
Zachary Karabell is the president of River Twice Research. Karabell makes the interesting observation on how important it is to understand the ad saturation point:
“As Facebook and LinkedIn executives have both noted recently, you can only saturate users with so many ads before that backfires. That saturation point also isn’t clear, but we know that if the ratio of ads trying to sell you something and content that you want, need, desire shifts too heavily toward selling stuff, not only do we tune out the ads but we may also tune out the service.”
My saturation point is often dependent on what hat I am wearing. Personally, my saturation point happens pretty fast. When I am online for any reason, ads are the last thing in which I am interested. My total focus is on whatever Web site, service, or task I need to engage to get on with my personal or professional business.
On the other hand, as a freelance corporate writer, I do frequently stop and specifically analyze ads. That is just another data feed into my professional role. Understanding what is out there is an integral part of what I do as a writer.
But because we are talking about consumers more than businesspersons, the big challenge here is to assess the saturation point from the consumer perspective. That will be a very ongoing and interesting challenge. I predict businesses will misjudge it many times . . . especially because technology and consumers are both moving targets.