Conversational Advertising

John Battelle writes about what “is missing from all this contextual, behavioral, paid search, and network-based advertising”:

What’s missing is the advertiser’s endemic relationship with the community a publisher serves.

think about a “traditional” publishing environment. You’ve got three parties in an ongoing, intentional conversation: The reader/viewer (we’ll say audience for lack of a better word), the editor/programmer/author/creator (we’ll say publisher for lack of a better word), and the advertiser. In a traditional publication, these three parties interact in various ways through the medium of the publication. Most importantly, the advertiser has voted with their dollars for that particular publisher, hopefully because the advertiser had take the time to understand that publication’s audience, and hence wants to be in conversation with that audience.

What’s inherent in this interaction is the intention of all parties to be in relationship with each other. This creates and fosters a sense of community – the best publications always have what are called “endemic” advertisers – those that “belong” to the publication’s community, that “fit” with the publication’s voice and point of view. I’ve found that in the magazines and sites I’ve helped create, my readers enjoyed the ads nearly as much as the editorial, because the ads served them, seemed to understand who they were in relation to the community the publication created.

It’s this relationship which I find entirely missing in all these contextual, behavioral, paid search networks.

To summarize: Something is lost when advertisers don’t buy based on the publication. I’m not arguing that buying based on context or content isn’t valuable, it certainly is. But in the long run, not considering the publisher’s role devalues both the publication *and* the advertiser in the minds of the publishers’ audience.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.