Talk with any long-time Internet marketing expert and they’ll tell you things have changed over the years. Not only has digital advertising technology evolved at a frantic pace, allowing many more people to start running paid web traffic, the number of different ways to reach people has also ballooned. Remember, at the dawn of Internet marketing, smartphones weren’t even widely used. Nowadays, advertisers can reach users while they play games, while they watch videos, even when they check the time or other data on their watch! So how does greater access to bigger audiences make advertising tougher, and what are savvy advertisers doing about it?
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An article in the Daily Mail highlights one hurdle for advertisers that always bears watching: regulation from industry organizations like the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority):
ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “We’re a much more proactive regulator as a result of the work we’ve done in the last five years. In the next five, we want to have even more impact regulating online advertising.
“Online is already well over half of our regulation, but we’ve more work to do to take further steps towards our ambition of making every UK ad a responsible ad.”
ASA chairman Lord Currie said: “The new strategy will ensure that protecting consumers remains at the heart of what we do but that our system is also fit for purpose when regulating newer forms of advertising.
This is not to suggest that online ad industry self-governance is a bad development, but the increase in tighter guidelines has changed the opportunities from what they were in the first days of online ads. While the goal of industry regulators like the ASA is to set rules that guide advertisers away from future conflict with consumers and the law, those rules are only part of the puzzling landscape of rules and laws concerning online ads.
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Regional Legislation Overlap
Laws at federal and state levels also have evolved – usually lagging somewhat behind developments on the Internet – imposing restrictions with legal force on what advertisers can or can’t do, as well as what they must disclose to their audiences in some cases. In the United States, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) handles most of such laws at the federal level, for example. Some of these laws are meant to regulate how advertisers present endorsements, what health claims may legally be made about a product, how advertisers may target advertising at children and other details. Laws have also developed over time to restrict how certain advertising channels, such as email, may be used. This largely makes sense, although for some products, for some markets, and in some regions, the ad laws can seem onerous.
A trickier aspect of ad laws is jurisdiction. Since the Internet provides advertisers with unparalleled global reach, they must also be aware or laws beyond their own state and country. As each different region develops its own laws, advertisers must be careful to avoid breaking laws, even in regions where they don’t necessarily do business.
In many cases, the solution to this is to transform older ad techniques that are tried-and-true into a digital format. Lawmakers are less likely to object to legitimate ad methods they recognize as established from older media.
A More Complex Maze of Platform Policies
Although lawmakers and even industry regulators usually lag behind developments at the forefront of online advertising because of the rapid development of technologies, the bigger players involved in showing and distributing those online ads are often quicker to respond. Platforms like Facebook Ads and Google’s AdWords and AdSense programs have earned notoriety among online advertisers for sometimes severe and sweeping policy changes. In the early days these platforms were focused mostly on establishing a beachhead to compete as major platforms in the online advertising distribution marketplace, but as they have evolved, these ad tech giants have developed stricter advertising policies. In many instances, ad platform policies go far beyond legal necessities. These big companies have ended up in competition with one another, not only on the basis of ad cost, but also in terms of policy restrictions. Some advertisers must shop their content and creatives around to find platforms with policies that allow them.
Of course, many advertisers also learn to adapt their techniques and technologies to exploit the opportunities created by platform policies. In many cases, new versions of old ad tech is the way to grab audience attention without upsetting the platforms.
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Rapidly Evolving Technologies
Moblivious reports that mobile devices already are far more common than desktop PCs, with 7.7 billion mobile devices in use (smartphones and tablets), versus only 2 billion PCs. This shift from the old days of a PC-only market means advertisers must test and choose how much attention and how many resources to spend on each technology.
An ad that works well in a desktop browser with a focused user and lots of screen space often does poorly on mobile devices. Sometimes even different mobile experiences must be tested to find the best creatives and ad styles for specific devices. This fragmenting of the physical side of the advertising platforms creates challenges, but nimble advertisers can also spot and exploit opportunities, developing killer ad styles aimed at specific browsers and devices.
Changing Audience Preferences
Evolving rules and technologies have also affected ad audience preferences and behaviors massively since the first days of Internet ads. For example, the phenomenal rise of Facebook (believe it or not, in the early days there was no Facebook Ads) means that ad audience attention has shifted to social platforms in a big way. Zephoria reports that 93% of marketers use Facebook ads regularly, for example. The allure of 2.32 billion monthly active Facebook users is undeniable!
1.56 billion people on average log onto Facebook daily and are considered daily active users (Facebook DAU) for March 2019. This represents an 8 percent increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 4/24/19). Sixty-six percent of Facebook’s audience would be considered DAU versus Monthly Active Users (MAU). The Implication: A huge and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their visits to the site, making them a promising audience for your marketing efforts.
The Takeaway: What To Do Next
Any advertiser quickly learns to treat changes in the market, updates to platform policies and the advent of new laws as hidden opportunities!
You can do exactly the same: Learn from the experience of a long-time Internet marketer who has generated over $58 million from online ads. Click the link NOW to see this live training and get ready to dominate with the methods that cut past those challenges and let you access the right audience for your product, then eliminate their resistance to your message!