English articles, Media, Top Tasks

“Mute this ad”: customer centric advertising

Are we dreaming? Customer power over advertising? Google sets a new benchmark in making ads relevant for customers. “Mute this ad” is a new tool for the web user in order to prevent an ad from showing itself again and again. Will Google disrupt the ad world business model again?

“Over the next few weeks, we’re introducing a small [x] which will appear in the corner of some display ads on the Google Display Network. When a user clicks the [x], he or she will no longer see ads from that campaign”, Google announces. No metrics would be available to the advertisers. The tool is not really fine-tuned yet, as e.g. the same ad could become visible again from another advertiser or domain, or from a separate campaign.

The new Google “Mute this ad”-button on ads will increase advertising relevance to the customer. As was the case with Adwords, Google moves advertising in the direction of customer centricity.

It seems an odd step to snub and shake the advertisers that come and spend their campaign money. Advertising platforms usually are very considerate to the advertiser, more than to the reader or the page visitor.

It’s not the first time Google puts the reader and the page visitor first in it’s advertising reasoning. Wasn’t relevance for the reader the basic behind the Adwords system? Yes, it was, against all existing marketing textbook rules. These simple, small text ads now send huge sums of advertising money into Google’s pockets. Why? Because they are relevant for the reader. They pay attention to the customer by cutting away the typical marketing bla-bla that makes advertising untrustworthy.

“Mute this ad” seems to take the same direction of relevance to the customer. A blocked away ad will make room for another ad, a more relevant one, for sure. The customer gains control, learns to express his or her ad preferences.

More than a fair chance that customers will love it. However, I do hope that there will be metrics soon. Old style marketing and advertising always has thrived upon opinion, upon lack of facts and measurable data. “Mute this ad”-metrics could grow into another tool for advertisers to become humble and could increase awareness that online marketing is about paying attention, not about getting attention.

“We’re investing in many ways to give users control over the ads they see,” Google writes in its Adsense Blog.

I like it.

(Thanks, Martine Bayens @mbayens)


About Toon Lowette

Customer is not king on the internet, he is dictator. Online services are successful if they allow the customer to do what he came for efficiently and without confusion. Toon Lowette is online publishing consultant in the Customer Carewords network of Gerry McGovern. Task management is the central issue. We teach websites to manage the task, not the content, not the technology. We teach websites to become relentlessly customer centric.


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