Digital advertisement, what’s the point?

 Last week Mitch Joel ( @mitchjoel ) made me think!

In his article “The Trouble With Online Advertising”  I made a very short comment “ … Why not just skip ads?… and Why not just get useful?…“ 

Since my comment where so brief I thought that exploring this a bit further might be worth while?

Mitch’s article point at the fact that very few people like online advertisements, they hardly click on them and digital ads doesn’t pay off very well for the owner of the website. (That is if you don’t have an enormous amount of people using your web solution, such as or, where the numbers of people is so huge that it becomes a money making machine, after all.)

Still, most of what happens in online advertisement and marketing is an eyeball game. “Collect as many users as possible, and sell the crowd to advertisers!”  – Just as in the good old days. Many voices are now speaking about that this isn’t working. Advertisement, also in the digital environment is increasingly becoming regarded as pollution, and doesn’t make sense.

In the print world it had a purpose, in a digital environment it’s just a set of extra click’s between a customers needs and suppliers ability to deliver. “Why not skip the ads? ” was my question and go directly to deliver the solution to the user.

We know all the arguments coming from the business of marketing and commerce. – “Sales don’t work like that” – “The purchase process doesn’t work like that” –“the customers are maybe not aware of their needs yet, and need marketing to realize their needs, before they will be willing to make a decision and actually purchase a product”. We could go on.

Is there an elephant in the room?
The questions are wrong! It’s not about “How to market better?” I belive it’s about how to provide users with what they need, when they need it; at the place they are! – But that is not all…

“Why doesn’t anyone bother to get to know me?” “Why do I have to do the “purchasing process” all by my self?”  A wide range of businesses spend time getting the metrics right, collecting info about their costumers, defining target groups, finding out at when it’s best to present traditional advertisement to users. But…

Companies (and media houses) is not working to get to know what problems I could need help from someone to solve in my life. And it’s not about finding out what my values are, and what kind of ideas I’d like to support.

Maybe it is as Simon Sinek says? : “Because to many businesses doesn’t know why they are in business” and he states: “Profit is not a purpose of business, it’s a result.”  This TED talk  of his is about why people buy something at all. – Thank you for sharing Chuck Peters! ( @cpetersia )

For me, it’s sounds more important to discuss the purpose of your business, and then find ways (yes, possibly including advertisement) to meet users and customers that would like to support your purpose.

Feel free to Contact me for an informal meeting. if you would like to discuss your challenges.

Some older blog article (more or less) relevant to this subject:

Slik kan aviser ta betalt for innhold og kommersielle produkter 

What’s the value of you in the digital universe? 

Seven” right things” to do in digital business today



2 Responses to “Digital advertisement, what’s the point?”

  1. Hi,

    I can’t say it better !

    We have now the means to know, not perfectly, but in a never-dreamed-of way, a lot of stuff about users and about customers. But advertising and marketing haven’t yet realized they are on a gold mine.
    Why? Because they just apply day by day, what they’ve learned at school and what everybody is doing for ages. Do an ad and communication campaign, spend thousands of euros to broadcast your message, and your sales will increase. And they really did.
    It was so simple, they have lost the purpose, as you underline it, of their business.
    And when you don’t know the WHY, you can’t imagine a new HOW.

    Oh I almost forget; It is also risky to ask something to a customer. He could tell something that makes you think.

    Best regards,


    • Thanks Frédéric, I hopwe that my blog inspires people to think, Nobody, as you say, have the answers ready made. But what we do know is that something is going on, and it doesn’t work to continue as we used to. THe answers of yesterday will not be the answers of tomorrow…
      And Frédéric, nice to be in contact, as we used to be colleauges at one point !

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