back to article Those online ads driving you bonkers are virtually 'worthless for brands'

One dollar of online display advertising will buy you approximately $0.03 worth of actual ads seen by real people, according to Bob Hoffman, a partner in media consultancy Type A Group. Hoffman, who used to run the Hoffman/Lewis Advertising agency, is well known for his skepticism of online ads, a view that has found some …

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What I hate is a browse amazon for a vacuum cleaner. I buy said vacuum cleaner . Now I visit a site and they are trying sell me a vacuum cleaner. Um to late and now you are pissing me off.

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I wish there was a way to click on an ad and say "Thanks but no thanks, not interested in this" and never see that one again. Surely the advertisers would love this, they'd then not have to pay to display their ad to someone who's said they're not interested.

Also quit it with the autostart video ads. If El Reg promised not to use those, I'd turn off ABP on this site.

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Unhappy

Advertisers would love it, but the people charging them to present the adverts on their behalf would loose out, and they are the ones who have no incentive to offer such a thing.

Unless a 'disruptive player' shows up selling that specific service as an advantage to people. And assuming they can survive the wrath and associated dirty-tactics of the status-quo cabal.

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Devil

All the bad ads

Require JavaScript.

If it's not to run some obnoxious autoplay video, then its to spy on your mouse cursor or (more usually) to pull in other random ads from some delivery network, which then allows nefarious advertisers to do a switcheroo to bypass vetting.. (e.g. the download pages with umpteen different "download" buttons) I'm assuming these are pointing to something innocuous if/when the admen do any vetting of the adverts..

(I also assume this is what is happening on Facebook's malware "adverts" - with clickbait fake-news banners e.g. "FANS' OUTPOURING OF GRIEF OVER DEATH OF SIR PAUL MCARTNEY" which my dad clicked on, only to be assaulted by a fullscreen scam-page accompanied with a loud booming voice saying "YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH A VIRUS! FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY TO REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR COMPUTER" - I'm giving Facebook the benefit of the doubt here - it's entirely probable that they don't vet their adverts whatsoever..)

Someone above noted that he needs "half a dozen plugins" to get rid of all the ads. That's not true: You only need one - a whitelist JavaScript blocker such as NoScript (firefox) or ScriptSafe (chrome) is all I use - no ABP. The nice thing about this is that HTML-only adverts, which are almost always non-intrusive, display just fine, so honest admen can still get revenue. And if I do see one of these honest, non-intrusive adverts, I am reasonably likely to click on it. (HINT HINT EL REG)

As for the "thanks but no thanks" - I'm sure they would appreciate your feedback to let their neural-networks know that you are most probably an actual real person, but they would use that information just to serve you with ever-more-obnoxious ads, while focussing your attention on their little iframe, rather than the site that you wanted to read, until you give up and click on one.

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Re: All the bad ads

"Someone above noted that he needs "half a dozen plugins" to get rid of all the ads. That's not true: You only need one - a whitelist JavaScript blocker such as NoScript (firefox) or ScriptSafe (chrome) is all I use - no ABP. The nice thing about this is that HTML-only adverts, which are almost always non-intrusive, display just fine"

Two things. One, HTML5 supports video without JavaScript. Two, many of the ads are keyed to the site or sit on the site itself, so blocking the ad blocks the site, too. And for some of us, the sites have no alternatives (like driver sites, third parties are a security risk).

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Devil

Re: All the bad ads

HTML5 supports video, but it won't autoplay without JavaScript. You get a nice 'play' button instead. At least on all sane browsers.

Yes it's true that some sites are going down the road of forcing you to watch ads by surreptitious means, but those sites are starting to ditch the WWW anyway - "please download our APP instead". The only answer is don't use them.

As for driver sites: they're ALL security risks. Run Linux. :P

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Re: All the bad ads

"As for driver sites: they're ALL security risks. Run Linux. :P"

Um, many devices DON"T HAVE Linux drivers, or the support is too spotty to be useful. I run into that problem all the time. So no, Linux is not an option.

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Anonymous Coward

read more Ad Contrarian!

Frankly, everybody should be reading Bob Hoffman's Ad Contrarian blog. Even if you know nothing about advertising / marketing, it's fucking hilarious. Also he says "fuck" a lot.

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Thanks a ton!

With writing like this it went straight onto my RSS feed:

You have to ask yourself why these people continue to do this stuff when it is of no value? There are two reasons.

First, despite its meaninglessness, there is still a demand for this nonsense among other marketing people who also know nothing.

And second, this is the only thing these people know how to do. If they don't do it, what the fuck else are they going to do?

So what we have here is people who know nothing paying other people who know nothing to do something that is useless.

Which turns out to be a pretty good definition of social media marketing.

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Marketeers = Idiot

Most ads fail at their most basic function - to inform one about why your product or services is worth my time and money. The marketing idiots have not figured out that memorable ad campaigns get one's attention.

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Re: Marketeers = Idiot

You cannot engage with people via internet ads. Web surfers have the attention span of a bee as they flit about the meadow they are solely interested in pollen and couldn't give a shit about any one flower. If brands want our attention then they have to provide content that we are interested in. Ads won't do it they simply get in the way of the content we are looking for.

If I'm looking to buy a X I put X into a search engine find a supplier and buy an X. Job done. Which particular X I buy will depend on what I find at that particular point in time. If I'm doing the weekly household shop I'll buy what I've previously bought that was good and shun that which turned out not to be good.

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changin' times, changin' ways

re: "The fraudsters are way ahead of the 'good guys' and know exactly how to simulate online human behavior through bots." At least 'good guys' is in quotes, since it sounds like a duel between parties who deserve each other.

That said, once upon a time many adverts on teevee were well done and had some creative ideas (see, for example, the "isn't it nice when things just work?" advert for Honda featuring a continuous shot of a Rube Goldberg assemblage of car parts interacting together). Dunno how Honda could port that advert today across online, social media, mobile devices, and who-knows-where/how people get their information without losing the "wow, neato" effect of the teevee version; from my observation most marketing people nowadays wouldn't even try, since shoving aggro-verts at us is cheaper and faster than flexing creative muscle.

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Mushroom

Advertising in general is useless...

Some time ago in Holland a global company ("Unilever") wanted to get rid of a specific brand of butter ("Zeeuws Meisje") and so they decided to stop all marketing activities. They were convinced that this would be enough to slowly kill off the brand after which they could take it out of the market.

Result? After 6 months it turned out that the sales figures had gone up, not down.

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Re: Advertising in general is useless...

The problem is that the best products advertise themselves and the worst products poison everything around them with there mere presence. That leaves no work for ad men who know nothing else, and they've been at this for well over a century. So they simply find work with everything in between: not good enough to advertise themselves yet not irksome enough to become self-averting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Advertising in general is useless...

Zeeuws Meisje was apparently a margarine, and a popular Dutch tv series.

That is hardly 'stopping advertising'

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Anonymous Coward

El Reg's ads

I use 5 different ad blockers simultaneously, but on iPhone I can't. As much as I hate ads I'll give it the Reg they choose ads which don't get in my way or attempt to takeover my screen.

Thank you it is genuinely appreciated and I wish more sites would take notice.

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Re: El Reg's ads

FYI - the iCab browser (well, front-end to Webkit, but you know what I mean) has adblocking capabilities on iPhone.

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OTOH maybe we should be grateful to the morons for continuing to fund our viewing of t'internet - and the poor suckers who unwittingly give up their bandwidth to view the trash.

I too run a couple of different blockers, but even before I did, generally speaking advertising on web sites would make me avoid brands, rather than consider them positively.

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Our lot have been selling online since 1999. We track all sales so we know what is cost effective and what isn't, ROI is measured. The only online spend that works well for us (specialised sports products) is Google Shopping, followed by very carefully controlled Adwords campaigns that don't go anywhere near associate sites. Facebook is a complete waste of money - we've tried it up, down and sideways, it is useless.

If you employ an agency to run campaigns, be very, very careful as most do not have a bulls notion of how the interweb works, they just want to pick up their commission cheques and client fees in exchange for some impressive graphics. It is a minefield and great way of making someone else rich.

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Anonymous Coward

Ads must be the topic that gets under most people's skin.

There's a basic TV listing site I look at to see what's on the box (yes I don't have internetty telly) and Ad Blocker deosn't block all the ads - it's slow and it's become so annoying I just won't go to that site any more.

Anyone else ever found when you click on Register job ads you suddenly get a call from an employment agent?

I make sure I auto clear all cookies now and use anon email accounts.

But I took the ad agency online department's dollar for 10 years thank you very much. At least not flogging guns and tobacco!

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If your DSP cannot do the targeting and data reporting for you then it's time for a new one.

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I know they're not getting rich from me..

I go to great pains to block invasive ads in all media. I will actually buy a competitor's product if a product is aggressively marketed to me. And sites that will not function with ad-blockers engaged are either modified with Firebug/NoScript so I can see the content I want, or usually I will just go elsewhere for the same news, etc.

If you have to try to bully someone into buying your crappy product or pointless service, it's just not going to happen. What kind of people actually are enticed enough by aggravating, blinking, invasive ads enough to even bother clicking on them? Forget "Madmen", they should have a series on the idiots that create this level of advertisement. They can call it "Mindless Wankers Not Fit to Live Among Us" (Title needs some work) Not sure how they would promote it though..

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Not sure how they would promote it though..

Well duh, online advertising. Obviously.

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Joke

Re: I know they're not getting rich from me..

@Unicornpiss they should have a series on the idiots that create this level of advertisement. They can call it "Mindless Wankers Not Fit to Live Among Us" (Title needs some work)

Well, yes, if only because you'd instantly be sued into oblivion by the makers of [Celebrity] Big Brother, The Apprentice, Benefits Street etc. for causing confusion and/or overlap with their shows.

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Use the Raspberry Pi-Hole

This blocks for all devices on a home network so means you do not have to spend too much effort on a device by device basis.

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Re: Use the Raspberry Pi-Hole

damnit, I just spent a couple of days struggling through getting BIND and Apache set up to do this and then crunching up several different blackhole lists to do this and pi-hole has nice reporting too. If only they used SEO to get picked up by my online research beforehand

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Go

Re: Use the Raspberry Pi-Hole

This - totally.

I've had one on my network for a little while. It took some playing about, because my BT Broadband router doesn't allow you to set DNS servers (pi-hole becomes the one you use). I got around it by making the Pi-hole my DHCP server too, but in the latest version they've included the setup of that in the web interface, so even my slight reservations about recommending it are now moot.

On a Pi 2 Model B, it seems to take less than 5% of the CPU to handle a household of 8 devices, but the loading of logs isn't quick.

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70% of the content on this page, as I write, is an add. the backdrop is filled with one add. The right column a bunch of blocks for the same advertiser. The header way too big. I explicitly don't click on them cos they nag the death out of me. Maybe online content providers need to get back to the magic of selling adds themselves. Just like the old days... They offload all the work, losing all the control, and driving their primary content audience nuts. There are people like me that would not mind paying to get a cohesive add up on the register,in a sensible place for sensible money. regardless of clicks. An Add that does not annoy the shit of the people I would want to reach out to. choices? All there is is agents. They take the lions share of your money, and your the site gives up control. The result is kinda bad for everyone, accept the add agency. Clicks can get ridiculously expensive, and the site that the adds go on does not get a fair deal. IMO, they way online advertising has gone, is in the wrong direction, and its about time a little startup showed the big boys how all needs to be done, from a site and audience point of view.

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Anonymous Coward

I must have evolved further than the rest of you, or I have a narrow field of vision, because I didn't even realise that there were ads on this site. It comes from many years of blanking out the column on the right of the page. I trained myself initially ignoring the wife, now ex-wife!

Privacy badger works on my other platforms.

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Optional

Bill Hicks said it best

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouE-CcwE8Ls

I do click on the odd ad on this website just to keep you in pennies as I am nice like that

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To be honest, I basically ignore most advertisements. The exceptions are the youtube presentations I watch like JayzTwoCents on computer builds or those on Revzilla when looking for bike parts. Basically if I am looking for something, I pay attention to the ads presented on the site that are related to my object of interest at the time. LIke I just had to look around the page to discover their are ads for Revzilla, a infosec conference, and a follow with a bird icon, facebook, google, and a speaker(???) icon. Sorry I am retired and only use the programs I need/want so I do not know all the types of social media. I do not need to stay connected.

As to e-mails, I trash anything I do not recognize without opening. When they start filling up my mail to fast, I will open, go to the bottom and unsubscribe, not that I subscribed to start with.

For me junk mail goes directly into my trash can. Electronically I do the same thing.

If the advertisers were to have a site that allowed looking at ads by subject, and the ads provided at least reasonable information not superlatives or exaggerations or out-right lies, I would be more than willing to go to that sight, review the ads for the product I desire, and then do more detailed comparison on vendor sites for final product selection. I think that is why I like JayzTwoCents. It tells me what all is out there and gives a mostly unbiased review, that I use as a starting point. I do not want hype. I want information.

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It pays the bills and salaries no matter what... We all have been inconvenienced persé via TV, radio, and so on.

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