Weekly Marketing Reading: Ads, Social, Design and Content
When it comes to brand advertising, pageviews are useless. But they continue to be the easiest way to sell advertising and how publishers make money online. In fact, there is a huge infrastructure in place based on buying eyeballs, which consists of salespeople, media planners, agencies, ad exchanges and more.
On top of that, programming for pageviews encourages all sorts of bad behavior from publishers. For example, Sam Slaughter comments, "If Comcast makes a user click 141 times to get through a slideshow, when Business Insider squeezes 58,000 pageviews out of a story appropriated from elsewhere, when articles are needlessly paginated—all of these tactics benefit publishers and advertisers at the expense of the users." Just because people saw ads does not mean they liked them and it does not mean they ultimately buy the products.
It's important to remember that great brand advertising doesn't just reach people, it influences them. Fortunately, there are a host of new analytic tools that attempt to move beyond the pageview. Slaughter cites the NY Times Cascade social tracker and Chartbeat's real-time engagement numbers.
Nevertheless, pageviews are entrenched in the system at this point. It will take time but brands are gradually moving their advertising away from banner ads and toward quality original content. Let's hope the publishers catch up quickly.