It’s Time to Do Something About the State of Advertising

Relevance is back

Having limitless content options and not enough time to consume it all isn’t just a challenge for consumers—it’s a challenge for content creators.

Even if you use your personal preferences to help filter out the noise, you face an inordinate amount of premium content options every time you sit down to watch a favorite show, read an article or share a funny video with a friend.

The renowned psychologist Barry Schwartz said it best: We all face a paradox of choice when it comes to the demands on our personal time.

And every one of these choices involves an investment of your finite time. Spending time wisely is not just critical, it’s everything.

Time is a consumer’s most precious asset. Every second they use their attention to vote on what matters to them. For content creators and marketers, the message could not be clearer: We have to meet the consumer at the moment they’re in. That effort is not insignificant when you consider that the experience has to happen in a safe environment and be repeatable and scalable.

The clock is ticking

Consumers understand the role of advertising. In the 2018 Xandr Relevance Report, 72 percent of respondents said that they like discovering new products through ads, while 71 percent said they like when an ad makes them feel something or strikes an emotional chord.

Moral of the story? Consumers don’t instinctively hate ads. They just don’t want more tension placed on their time. Even if it’s just a temporary distraction, it’s still keeping them from the people and content they care about. Therefore, advertising at the very least needs to be relevant.

Delivering relevance is the equivalent of a fair-trade agreement with today’s consumers.

You need to leverage data and technology to show respect for your customers and invest in targeted messages with thoughtful creative at a reasonable frequency. It’s not an unreasonable tradeoff for consumers’ most precious commodity.

Isn’t it about time we do some things differently? Can’t we as marketers and publishers create relationships that move from adversarial to inspirational? Consumers today are blocking irrelevant ads and willing to pay for content and subscriptions where they feel the balance of trade is more equitable.

Make ads relevant

I believe in the future of advertising-supported media and hope as an industry that we can start a rallying cry to acknowledge that it’s about time to make advertising more interesting, more thoughtful and more meaningful.

So, for the second year, Xandr is hosting leaders in the TV, digital media and advertising industries for the Relevance Conference in California. Our theme this year is: “It’s About Time.” We want to engage in conversations with the people that are willing to be the change makers of the advertising industry.

Key stakeholders from traditional brands, big media companies, tech platforms and direct-to-consumer brands will tackle the big questions and imagine a role for advertising that’s far different from its past.

You’ll also hear from researchers studying why consumers respond to some brand messages and not others and take part in insightful discussions on topics like why TV advertising is the most powerful medium to promote actual TV programming.

Like last year’s Relevance Conference, this will be a lean-in experience that puts an expectation on you to participate in changing the future. If we don’t move quickly, time isn’t going to be on our side.

Kirk McDonald is the CMO of Xandr. He has more than 25 years of experience working with the world’s top brands, media companies and technology providers.