The Key to 8x Better Digital Media Performance

I like advertising. I keep books by the greats—Ogilvy, Gossage, DDB—within reach of my desk. I like the right combination of words and images to make you look and then look again. I like a concept that’s just bent enough to make you think. I like how advertising can subvert the culture and then become part of the culture as much as a movie or book.

Consider the “first” banner ad. An AT&T ad that debuted in 1994.

Maybe not destined to win any creative awards, but a good cheeky way to kick the whole thing off. This ad had a 78% click-through rate—meaning 78% of people who saw the ad clicked on it. It was new, it was exciting.

Fast forward to today and online advertisers celebrate when they get a 0.05% CTR.

Of course the novelty has worn off. Inventory has exploded. Access has been democratized. But still, what’s happened to online advertising?

In a recent survey from Hubspot regarding ad blocking, 56% of consumers said “most online ads these days are insulting to my intelligence.”

Right now I’m being followed all over the web by a gut doctor who is begging “Americans To Throw Out This Vegetable Now.” The accompanying image is not appealing. In a moment of Honey-Do-list-weakness I clicked on an ad that promised the “Little Known Trick To Avoid Gutter Cleaning For Life.”

Click bait. Sadvertising. Pop-ups. Autoplay. It can be pretty brutal out there.

In the same survey 83% of people agreed with the statement “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.”

People don’t hate advertising. People hate bad advertising. And the Internet is full of it.

And I think that’s the reason our clients see an average .43% CTR in online advertising. In a sea of quick diets and pop culture nostalgia, the organizations we have the privilege of working with have something important to say. They have an audacious message. What they are doing is helping to make the world a better place.


People will click on that.