Of Bots and Blocks

We are seeing the destruction of the display channel this year. Simply said, there are two major forces that are devouring the channel as we know it. As widely reported by our advertising press, the display channel is awash with non-human traffic that is literally stealing money from advertisers. The numbers are staggering, ranging from $7 billion, to a new upper range of $150 billion (by decade end). Hopefully, the truth lies closer to the lower range. This is a black eye for every supplier to the digital marketer. Also, today it was reported that 25% of all U.S. households are now using either PC or mobile based ad blocking. Both trends will limit the impact of display as a channel. I think the big takeaway is twofold: the agencies have not done a sufficient job in policing the space, since stewardship lies with them, and that the U.S. consumer is definitely showing signs of advertising fatigue. What will happen is that relevancy will be the new king, which will place a higher value to more personalized, less frequent communication between brand and consumer. It is safe to say that digital is no longer the low hanging fruit, and the landscape will be facing a shakeout. Sadly, no one took the tiger by the tail, and the promise of digital transformation will be a short lived experiment. Because in the end, the only media that will matter are ones that convert. Bogus traffic and blocking will impact the bottom line.

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