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Selling one thing and doing another

An increasing number of online publishers no longer care about their readers. You can see this whenever you go to a local newspaper website, for example, and are overwhelmed with pop-up ads and other annoyances. Even readers who are quite aware that a website needs funding get angry when it’s almost impossible to clear a path through the advertisements. And they’re as likely to get angry with the advertiser as they are the publisher.

So what advertiser would allow themselves to irritate prospects in this way? The answer is probably very few, if they actually knew what was going on. However, my experience is that many of them don’t know, because they don’t even bother to look. Online publishers are notorious for selling advertisers one thing and actually showing something a little different. Even Google does this, on its ‘Display Network’; here it asks you to specify three lines of text, then goes off and uses the text in loads of different ways which you’re never shown unless you stumble across them online.

The message here is that if you advertise online, be absolutely certain where, when and how your adverts are being displayed. And above all, look at the response – not the clickthroughs, or the clickthrough rate, but the actual engagement of those who visit your site. If it’s incredibly low, the chances are that the site where you’re advertising is tricking visitors into clicking on your ad and painting you in a very poor light.

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