Last week at the Online community unconference, I lead a session where we had a conversation about Ads in Communities: What’s working and what isn’t. This really got my head thinking, not only about the issues but what can be done to change the situation.
So I talked with a bunch of people and started trying to get some change happening. If you read this and think there is an existing soution PLEASE let me know. There are TONS of people/companies/communities/platforms looking for something better than the current method. I am still working on my idea for a solution, but here’s the problem as I (and other) see it.
There is currently not a universally acceptable way of proactively filtering and targeting advertisements to communities (and other sites) concerned with the content in the ads they serve.
- Google and other large players in the ad space, have proactive filtering by context of ad description, coupled with the ability to remove ad from being served again to your site in the future. This method allows the process to be almost completely automated, thus scaling nicely.
- PayPerPost and similar companies are using paid audience members to integrate marketing messages into user forums. This method allows for higher relevancy and
Issues with Existing Solutions
Accountability – Since advertisers are in charge of the ad descriptions, their text descriptions and self-categorization have a tendency to not reflect the complete context of the ad.
Relevancy – On the audience experience side, users are beginning to sub/consciously tune out the advertisements they see on sites due to low relevancy.
Objectionable Content – All too often, non-relevant, or worse, offensive, ads are served to communities/sites without anyway for the site to proactively prevent it.
Proactive Filtering – When asked for help, many sites have been told to simply remove the questionable ad from the pool of potential ads. This is often not a perfect fix, as the ad had already done damage to the quality of the experience for the audience.
Over-Filtering – Often times, removing one ad requires banning an entire IP address, eliminating other ads from the company serving the ads.
Traffic Requirements – Ad networks do offer higher levels of service, but these are only available to high traffic sites, leaving many lower traffic community sites without a viable ad option.
Frequency – Lower pools of acceptable ads means that super-users on sites are bombarded with the same ads, over and over, reducing their effectiveness and tending to frustrate users.
Credibility – PayPerPost methods sometimes cause credibility issues within communities where they are integrated.
As soon as I type up the proposed solution I have been dwelling on, I will post it here. Definitely let me know if one is already out there tho.
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