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April 4, 2007

Aussie Advertisers Look Online, Ad Ethics and Fun Finds

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Australian Marketers Look Online

eMarketer (via Andy) reports on new studies suggesting Australian advertisers will spend 22 percent of their total advertising dollars online in 2007. This is a 4 percent increase from 2006. What’s propelling this push forward? The fact that nearly 80 percent of Australian households now have a broadband connection. Faster Internet means more searchers, which translates into more eyeballs viewing ads online. See, kids, at the end of the day it all comes down to Maths (or Math as they call it in the US).

According to eMarketer, display ads will dominate Aussie marketer’s online efforts, with classifieds and search also gaining momentum.

Curiously, eMarketer says that similar to "their US counterparts", Australian marketers find that online advertising has "insufficient accountability". This is very scary. It means advertisers are stalking you while you read your morning paper. It must be. It’s the only way to imagine that traditional media comes with more tracking than online programs chock full of analytics. Either eMarketer translated the survey wrong or advertisers are dumb.

Banner Blindness vs. Deceiving Customers

There’s an interesting discussion going on at the HighRankings Forum (via SER) right now over the ethics of too closely disguising the ads on your site to match your content. The conversation was started after a recent study found users were less likely to click on flashy banner ads. Not surprising, right? Who in their right mind would click on one of those Shoot the Duck and win ads? No one, but as Ian McAnerin commented, is disguising ads to match your content really ethical?

Ask yourself which is worse: Creating flashy banner ads you know users will ignore or, blending ads in so closely with your site that the users "trust" them and are deceived into clicking?

Clearly the latter. You never want to trick or deceive users or the search engines. Find a middle ground.
Customize the ads so that they blend in with your site but make sure the ads are marked in a way that clearly state users are looking at an advertisement. It’s like that page in the newspaper that looks like real content but isn’t so it has to be marked with a "This Is An Advertisement" disclaimer so dumb people don’t sue. It’s the same principle on the Web. Make the ads work for you, but don’t deceive users in the process. Site text is site text and ads are ads. Users should be able to easily pick out which is which; no one will return to a site they don’t trust.

Fun Finds

Africa’s going high speed to boost business competitiveness.

Jeremy Zawodny pens a Dear John letter to Bloglines. I’m so close to writing my own.

ResourceShelf alerts me to the terrifying Terrorism Knowledge Base which sends out newsletters to keep readers updated on when new info is added to their systems. What kind of info, you ask? Things such as “new terrorism group profiles, incident information, and court case data". So they can, you know, paralyze you in fear. Awesome!

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