Recently, Google very quietly introduced an experiment to not just disrupt themselves, but to disrupt their single biggest cashcow, Adwords.
Google Contributor gives consumers the choice to pay a monthly fee to have ads removed from sites they visit. Subtly different to Ad Blocking, Contributor will allow users to replace ads with content of their own choice – eg. RSS feeds, images, to-do lists – effectively transforming advertising space into real estate for personal productivity.
In such a context, the only way for ads to remain to be seen is for advertisers to provide more value for consumers from their ads than any ad blocking/Contributor alternatives.
How can ads provide more value?
Currently, Google does have an option for Google+ posts to be repurposed as Display Network ads – adding social proof and relevancy to ‘ads’ in the form of likes, comments, shares and friend/social graph connection. Its a *fantastic* idea… if only anybody was on Google+.
Similarly, Facebook is also very slowly building its Audience Network to allow Facebook posts to be posted off Facebook.
A time is coming when we can no longer get away with ads that aren’t human nor seeded from relationship -the same algorithms that surface ‘viral’ content on social platforms, will become the algorithms that power advertising.
Even Display Advertising must now participate in the Connection Economy – outside of social networking platforms.
Old fashioned broadcast, non-relational advertising will see an increasing penalty (or outright blocking) applied over time.
The solution isn’t simple or short term, but for advertisers, the best way forward is still to deliver the best for the least for the most.