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Credico Blog: Will the online advertising dam of disconnect burst?

After the recent paid internet ad targeting debacle in the UK, once again, the global spotlight is being shone on the digital pursuit of consumers.

Credico Blog: Will the online advertising dam of disconnect burst?

An evident lack of transparency in online advertising is allegedly causing a growing number of American consumers to think twice about what information they choose to share online, taking measures to protect their privacy.


Many popular web browsers now offer built-in ad blocker services, which stands to improve the browser experience for millions of internet users. However, these offerings have caused somewhat of a rumble among online marketers, spreading uncertainty over what this could mean for the future of online advertising.


Have we got to the point where personalized ads have become less effective because consumers are worried they are being exploited?


We do not believe so. Credico sees online advertising as a supplementary tool to compliment offline activities – it’s all part of a larger marketing process. As it stands, online adverts continue to be fairly effective at identifying customers and enticing them to spend money, using troves of data that have been gathered to anticipate their needs. Data collection is needed, because for online advertising to work, it can’t be generic. It needs to be highly targeted and personalized – tailored towards the right person, and seen at the right time. The part of America’s economy that is ad-centric has become systemically important, with a market value that is staggeringly larger than the banking industry.


However, we believe Americans are finally realizing how powerful big data can be. The widespread media coverage on alleged Russian interference in our elections and their misuse of social media platforms to influence over 100 million citizens has served as a continuing education about how seemingly innocuous, personal details may be used against them by online advertisers.


The US industry is throwing astonishing amounts of money at online advertising and yet the growth rate of the industry is anemic – there is no concrete evidence to illustrate how effective online advertising really is. Conversations are now just starting to take place en masse regarding who the real beneficiaries are from the opaque, unregulated auction system of online advertising.


“…but mostly it’s to be found in the profits of the data-brokers, cookie monsters, trackers and other corporate creatures that lurk in the shadows cast by the internet giants. And they’re not talking,” states The Guardian’s John Naughton – author of ‘From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet’.


Skeptics need only to glance at the share prices of search engines and social media platforms to get an idea of where the money is really going. Many ‘corporate creatures’ Naughton refers to have been reluctantly cast from the shadow into the light lately – with the US Senate declaring they will be hauled in for hearings shortly.


So, as the waters of online advertising get muddied by players both big and small, the question we want to know is how long will it take for governing bodies to crack down on the exploitation of data?


The digital world of online advertising is already showing signs of saturation, but is the daily effect on consumers significant enough to force the dam of discontent to burst?




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