Advertisement Galore – Why it doesn’t work

My last post was about banners, and how they can ruin a perfectly good site simply by sticking on it like a 20-year old traveling suitcase. The worst part that I did not even went into yet was, they don’t work. Please, believe me.

A project that I work on launched a nation-wide television commercial last week, with the idea that it would grow an immense audience. And with that, we included ads and links on the homepages of the same nationwide network, grossing millions of visits (not visitors) a month.

But it simply did not work. The difference with an ad campaign and without was 3:1. True, we had three times as many visits, but to be honest, that does not add up. Exposing your product to millions of American viewers, and getting only three times the amount of visitors that you had without any advertising simply does not work.

It is not shocking news. The advertising world is changing rapidly. When I go to the cinema, in the past I remember to be bombarded with commercials. Nowadays it is a ‘first-view’ program and trailers, and maybe a commercial highlighting the popcorn and M&M’s you can get in the lobby. Advertisement doesn’t work that well anymore.

And I am a web designer and developer. I know how to build stuff, and make it work. I cannot sell it. Getting an audience has always been a mystery to me. Until a good friend of mine took some time to explain to me the currently successful way to advertise; social networks. Now, I am absolutely known with the social networks; I know how they technically work (and most, even the huge ones, are barely able to run correctly), what is good and bad about them, but I don’t understand them. I never been a ‘social guy’. Although I did meet my wife in a bar, I never have been the kind of guy to just go out, meet people. And a social network sounds a bit the same to me. I simply do not understand them, and what they do for me.

So, after this friend told me how you can actually use a network also for business purposes, I promised myself to do it. Finally doing something with my Facebook account that I had not touched for a long, long time simply because my life was fairly good without it.

And it is work, I have to say. For me at least. I love it to write, to talk with old friends, and it feels good. And the first step is familiarize myself with the system and setting up a network. But since I am also running my own company, I need to know how to set up my business and get an audience in the social network too. The simple fact that I am not familiar with it, doesn’t mean my potential clients are not either.

So even though I know it is a new road for me, I know it is absolutely necessary. And this is where I think my client with the nationwide ad campaign will be missing the boat on this. To be honest, that side including advertisements is grossing as many visitors ad my wife’s online local antique store – and I am absolutely serious about that.

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