Ad Tech, mystery or monster? Lees de blog van Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman.jpg

Tijdens de WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) Global Marketer Week, die dit jaar plaatsvond in Toronto, liet Bob Hoffman opnieuw van zich horen. Ditmaal met een uitgesproken opinie over “Ad Tech”, die we u niet willen onthouden.

We kennen Bob Hoffman, befaamd reclameman en schrijver van het best verkopend boek over reclame op Amazon, van de UBA Trends Day in 2015. Hij sloot de dag toen af met een provocerende redevoering over “The Golden Age of Bullshit”. Hij gaf zijn ongezouten maar tegelijkertijd prikkelende mening over de reclamewereld van vandaag en de uitspraken van reclame-experts.

Lees zijn uitgesproken betoog over “Ad Tech”:

Hi everybody. I’m Bob.

I’m a copywriter.

I don’t know very much about technology. I also don’t know very much about media buying or selling.

So why am I here shooting my mouth off about ad tech?

Because although I don’t know much about software or media, I think I know something about bullshit.

I spent 41 years in the agency business. You think you're full of shit? I have a lifetime achievement award.

And I think some software people and some global agency people have gotten together and sold us a bunch of dangerous bullshit known as ad tech.

We’ll get to that in minute.

But first, I believe that, on the whole, we advertising and marketing people are good people. We are hard-working and well-meaning.

We want to help our brands and our clients succeed. We want to make good products for consumers and provide them with good service.

If the realization came to us that something we’re doing might be marginally beneficial to our company but was clearly harmful to consumers, clearly harmful to our industry, and clearly harmful to society, I would hope we would have the integrity to give it some serious scrutiny.

I’m afraid that is the situation we find ourselves in today.

It is hard for us to imagine that a technology we are using - that began with the simple and benign purpose of delivering online ads to websites - has morphed into a monster.

We never intended it to be so. But it’s time to face reality — adtech, as it is currently practiced, is a menace.

It is powered by tracking - which is just a pleasanter word for surveillance - and it has lead to all kinds of dangerous mischief.

It is subverting our industry’s relationship with the public.

It has enabled a cesspool of corruption and an ocean of fraud.

It places personal and private information about us within the reach of criminals, governments, and other potential malefactors.

It has devalued the work of legitimate online publishers.

It is degrading our news media

It is distrusted by marketers.

And it is despised by the public.

Other than that, it’s fucking great.

Let’s do a little data-driven review of the facts.

First, over 600 million web-connected devices are now armed with ad blockers. According to Doc Searls author of The Intention Economy, this is the largest boycott of anything in the history of humanity.

Second, according to this organization, about 90% of you are going to review your programmatic relationships this year. I cannot imagine a more unambiguous vote of no-confidence for the ad tech industry.

Ad tech has enabled a massive transfer of money - billions of dollars - from you to middlemen. About 60% of your programmatic ad budget is being scraped by ad tech middlemen.

Adtech drives money to the lowest quality publishers. Adtech’s value proposition is this: we will find you the highest quality eyeballs at the shittiest possible locations.

This has resulted in the struggle for existence among quality publishers and the brand safety crisis we are currently in the midst of.

Dollars not driven to the shittiest possible locations are driven to Facebook and Google which some marketers think of as safe havens, but are, in fact, an arrogant duopoly who have refused to abide by widely-accepted standards of openness and transparency.

And what has ad tech given us in return? An overall engagement rate that is usually reported at about 6 clicks per 10,000 ads served.

Solve Media says a consumer is more likely to complete Navy Seal training than click on a banner ad.

Ad tech is also the economic engine behind fake news.

One of its most pernicious effects is the corruption of journalism and the scourge of click bait.

And then, of course, there’s fraud. Within 8 years online ad fraud, enabled substantially by ad tech, may become the second largest source of criminal income in the world.

Finally, everything the ad tech industry has ever told us about privacy and security has, in the fullness of time, turned out to be complete horseshit. They are incompetent, irresponsible, and dangerous.

Technology is a trial and error endeavor. Nobody gets technology right the first time. The Wright brothers didn’t, Thomas Edison didn’t, Steve Jobs didn’t. And guess what? We didn’t either.

We don't need adtech as it is currently configured.

We can do online advertising better, more successfully, and more profitably without spying on the public, destroying our credibility, enriching criminals, degrading our news media, and endangering our freedoms.

We are dealing with a very clear risk-reward situation here. The rewards of adtech, if any, have been quite low. The risks have become enormous.

Why are 600 million devices now armed with ad blockers? It’s not a mystery. It is because ad blockers are currently our only defense against a technology that started benignly and has morphed into a monster.

Thank you.

 Bob Hoffman

Data & Technology Media