Online Ads are Terrible. Here's How to Fix Them.
It doesn't matter if I’m trying to read tweets or a blog; intrusive, irrelevant ads that kill the experience, waste my time and cause distractions are a constant pain. I’ve tried ad blockers, complaining directly to Twitter and the new Brave browser -- and in every case, for whatever you gain, you also lose something. After all, that’s how businesses make money -- or is it?
At the height of the Facebook scandal, the #deletefacebook movement gained momentum -- yet few people actually deleted their accounts. Facebook actually enjoyed a rise in their shares a few months later. In spite of an alternative, people are forced back to the same old, risky and intrusive systems. But that is about the change.
I rarely buy something online. If the service providers knew this, they would probably stop wasting my time with their ads. But the main question is, how many dollars are wasted on showing these ads to me? And is this the most efficient way of advertising?
Google’s algorithm tries to tie ads with keywords from search results, while Facebook uses its deep knowledge of demographics to make efficient targeting. But there's another way that’s more efficient than both -- subscribers.
The current model is based on display advertising. The advertiser needs to show me something, called an impression, and if I click on it, I will be redirected to their site -- that's called a click through. The problem is that advertisers don’t have enough knowledge on where their customers really are, and their ads either land on irrelevant websites or become target for fraudulent bots.
On the other hand, users are offended by ads so many times that they instantly ignore or close anything that looks like an ad without a second thought. Yet they still have to pay for the bandwidth and lose their phone battery on them.
This model is not doing publishers any good either, as Google and Facebook take 73 percent of all ad revenue and 99 percent of all growth.
The Facebook Pixel was brought under spotlight during Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate hearing for tracking people even when they are not using the platform. This technique is heavily used by Link Retargetting. Essentially this means the company will track you by attaching a cookie to your browser so they can recognize you when you are back. But after the GDPR, which explicitly requires that users give consent when they are tracked, these methods are becoming less efficient -- and ads are becoming less relevant too.
Anyone with a YouTube channel knows the value of subscribers. When someone subscribes for a service, they are much more valuable as they are craving the offered service. That’s much different from a random visitor.
The subscriber advertising model suggests that ads should be served only to subscribers of a certain service -- meaning a much more targeted audience with similar interests. When targeting the right ads to the right audience, conversion rates are much higher, and the audience is still happy and engaged.
The problem is that the centralized systems do not support this model. Their aim is to make profit for the ad service providers, not the advertisers, publishers or users. Here is where blockchain can play a decisive role.
The blockchain supremacy.
Blockchain completely removes the centralized body. As such, advertisement costs significantly decrease, which means more revenue for the publishers and better ROI for the advertisers. And since it’s on the blockchain, the payments are instant, and publishers don’t need to wait months.
However, the users are the primary winners. Blockchain allows users to fully own their data. As such, they can choose if they want to see ads or not. If they choose to see ads, they can be rewarded and paid in return. This unique model not only respects the users’ privacy but also incentivizes them for watching ads. It also dramatically increases relevancy since the users can pick what they want to see and what they don’t.
To make this work, we must determine how users are actually interacting with ads. There are two ways to do that:
1. User interaction time.
In this model, the time a user spends watching an ad is measured. This model takes the amount of pixels actually visible into account when doing so. As such, this model only works with certain browsers that have this feature built-in to them.
The other approach is to look at Google Analytics traffic. While this model does not reveal how much users have interacted with an ad on page, it does reveal the actual value of a publisher’s subscriber list. This information can be combined with other well-converting methods to target that audience, push notifications and emails. As such, online ads are completely removed, while only relevant ads are served directly to the users.
Once we get rid of the irrelevant, irritating ads, we will have a system that is profitable and enjoyable for all parties. Eventually, ads let us use many great services free, but blockchain allows us to enjoy the experience too. In an ecosystem like this, even I would turn on a few ads, just to earn tokens. And if they are relevant, who knows. Maybe I’ll change my habit.