Digital Advertising Is Dead, period!


This is a sad picture.  It’s sad for a lot of reasons. First, people still believe that digital advertising holds the future.  Second, I know the real percentages of actual engagements for traditional digital advertising.  Which brings me to the another quick point, digital advertising has become “traditional.” It’s very similar to what the print and broadcast advertising went through years ago as the digital advertising age stepped it’s way into the scene…they became “traditional.”

I sit in an industry that is feveriously trying to find the new model it can throw money at to keep alive.  It’s a space where the total impressions and list counts look great on paper. It’s a space where the industry averages of digital advertising engagement is supposed to justify the spend.

Since that is the case, lets take a closer look…shall we?!? The average rate for a dedicated e-blast to these sacred lists the advertisers control is about 3 cents to 7 cents.  Lets use the lowest rate of 3 cents for this example.  If we send a dedicated e-blast to a list of say, ummm, 500,000 that sounds impressive right?  If we hit the average open rates (which is the best we can expect based on what i have paid and seen lately) then we will at best have 100,000 people actually open the email.  Now that we have their attention, at best (again with industry averages) we will see about 5% people actually respond to any action call…and that is being very generous.  Now, we have 5,000 people who cared enough to click on something.  If we take the average conversion rates (assuming they will convert to a sale at this point) of 3%, then at best we have 150 buying customers.

Now I’m not a mathematician or ambitious accountant, but I think you can follow this simple math.  We now have 150 buying customers assuming everything went right.  We’re selling a $10 CD to a base of about 150 people.  It cost us $15,000 to capture these sales.  This puts us at about $100/customer to acquire the sale.  Do the math…this doesn’t work.

Even if the buyer recommended it  to 10 of their friends, we are still dramatically upside down!  The model doesn’t work. Just like print advertising didn’t work after digital advertising came in years ago to replace it.  Now the digital advertising doesn’t make sense in the traditional mindset…AT ALL!!

What make sense these days is relationships.  It takes grass roots work.  It takes content that matters.  It takes people actually connecting with people! It’s not interruptive marketing.  It’s opted-in permission to have the conversation.  It’s content that people want to engage, share, and maybe buy.  The old models are out of the window.  Digital advertising is dead.  At best it can be a billboard…how much attention do we pay to them.

These days it’s about relationships in the marketplace.  I have a partner I have worked with for the last 4 years who has adapted and maintained this channel relationship in a way that makes sense for both of us. I can truly say that Kevin McNeese at New Release Tuesday  is a picture of what the future of digital advertising will become.  He cares about the fan, the artist, and most importantly the Kingdom call we are purposed for.  And there are other channels like Relevant Magazine where creative and music collide into a great experience for fans.  Guys like Cameron Strang, Josh Babyar, and Chad Michael from Relevant understand the value of the music experience in combination with advertising.

As a marketer, we have become a solid voice which has double, even triple in some cases, the response than just throwing money in a channel.  We have worked to continue to bring value to this channel in both content and development…it has equaled success! This is not the norm.  It takes work.  It’s not what an ad rep will ever sell you!

If you don’t have an editorial plan built around content, you’re dead too. If you’re not building the channel or relationships, then you’re dead. The only advertising that works will supplement the editorial around content people actually give a crap about. Period.

Breathe In & Smile Out,