Every day we click several links, read several editorial pieces, watch multiple videos. Seldom do any of these come without being surrounded by some or the other form of advertising.
We say they degrade our viewing experience, so the publisher says, okay then, start paying for my content. To which, we turn a deaf ear, and keep reading the article about how to make a great cheesecake, whilst cringing about the ads you have to scroll through, interrupting your very ‘chef-y’ experience.
But do publishers find some kind of sadistic pleasure in bombarding us with the most irritating and profane use of imagery with the worst of fonts and gaudiest of colours? In an ideal situation irrespective of how much money is made off of a page visit, how would a publisher like their content to look? I think we already sort of know the answer to it. Look at Medium, or for that matter look at The Patil Post itself. We do not have any ads because we want users to get hooked to the content first. Medium is a venture capital funded blogging platform with the ease of publishing and reading being their USP. They crave for dedicated readership too.
Can we keep doing this for EVER? Probably not. As user bases grow, companies grow with them. This means more people, more infrastructure, more mouths to feed, and more work to be done. None of this is a reality unless money becomes a part of the equation. Should the users pay the content provider enough to keep the lights on, no publisher would have to pimp out their pages to pesky ads.
About the image: This is an actual screen shot of today’s Times Of India website’s home page. I dare you to spot a single news piece.P.S.: Before I reached this page, I was ‘greeted’ with another 5-second interstitial ad.
The problem is that the math never ads up. As you’ve seen in your entire life, traditional newspapers charged a fee to deliver the news to you whilst filling up pages with ads. That’s because the cost of collecting the news, paying writers & editors, publishing it and advertising its own self is way too high to be covered by your Rs. 2 per day subscription. The logistical cost is simply too high.
Does this mean we have to put up with the ugly tastes of advertisers? Probably, but not for long. The content industry is now facing newer challenges of the shrinking canvas. A typical newspaper would be an A3 size paper. You can put in the news and the ads tiles on the same page without any severe intervention, thus keeping the love of your life (the paying subscribers) by your side, all the while keeping the mistress (the profit making advertiser) happy. Today, with a typical phone screen not being bigger than 5.7 inches, there’s not much space for an ad if you want to show a meaningful amount of content and vice versa.
So far, platforms like Google and Facebook are finding ways to punish obstructive ad heavy websites by pulling them down with their algorithms. So in a way the users are winning, and the industry is being forced to innovate in ad tech. But until such times arrive, we have to deal with the demon of native advertising – more on it, in our next articles.
Images: Source, Source
Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
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