Why Advertising Isn’t Working Anymore

Advertising isn’t working as well as it used to. In an age of information overload people are tuning out distractions as a matter of survival.

Here are two visuals to help make this point.

1. It is far more important to be found when someone is looking these days than to be visible when they are just scanning. To visualize this look at the graphic below

When someone is scanning (watching TV, reading a magazine, walking a tradeshow floor) it is relatively easy to fall into their visual field. When they are seeking (googling, reading blogs, using RSS) you have to be right on point for them to see you.

2. Don’t believe me – take this 20 second test.

As people adapt to the world of information overload they will scan less and seek more and advertising will become increasingly difficult to justify.

As usual Seth Godin sums it up nicely:

“Media rule of thumb: if people wouldn’t miss your ads/content/noise if it went away, you should find somehting else to sell to advertisers. Not because it is ethically wrong to annoy people just because you can, but because in a world with a bazillion channels, people just ignore you if they choose to.”