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The End of Conventional Advertising as We Knew it Would Be

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By Hector Cisneros

With the Mayan Prophecy of 12/21/12 only days away, I thought we would take the time to talk about how the Internet has already changed the world as we knew it.  In fact, when it comes to life as we know it is irrevocably altered, there isn't much that can hold a candle to the World Wide Web.  Think about it, the Internet is less than a quarter of a century old, yet it has infiltrated every facet of humanity, from telecommunications to computers, from newspapers to books to televisions, from yellow pages to the postal service. Even automobiles and medical devices connect to the web.

If anything, the changes to society have been increasing exponentially since the advent of the Internet.  Where it used to take days to disseminate information before the Internet, now it takes mere seconds.  Where people used to be able to enjoy their privacy, that too is being quickly eroded as marketers and governments can follow most of us in real-time due to the web.  

So when it comes to answering the big questions such as “Is the world as we know it coming to an end?” you are about twenty years too late. In this blog, we will explore some of these changes that have occurred and will look forward at the tidal wave of change that is headed our way. So let us explore the end of the advertising world as we once knew it.

Are Newspapers the Canary Signaling the Downfall of Big Monopolies?

First on my list is the downfall of the old media monopolies. I’m talking about the big newspapers, TV networks, the Ma Bell Babes, radio conglomerates and the like. High-speed communications via smartphones and tablets connected to the internet have had a huge impact on consumer habits. News used to be gathered by reporters in the field. Now reports come into the newsroom from Bystanders taking pictures and sending them to the news services.

Today your morning drive traffic updates came from cell phone users and internet connected web cams placed throughout the city. Instead of reading the morning paper, people now read news on tablets and smartphones. Unlike television, which has regularly scheduled news shows, news on the web is breaking live within seconds of an event taking place. In fact, many events are being recorded live and streamed in. Tonight your just as likely to watch TV on the web as you would on the Regular networks. As a matter of fact about 20% of the population simultaneously are on the web when watching regular TV.

Bye Bye Scheduled Air Time - Hello On Demand

Gone are the days where you had to wait for the evening news or the time for your favorite show to air. Now the web offers 24/7 access to videos on demand. Google YouTube, Netflix and Hulu are the new online on demand monopolies as the old boy TV networks scramble to build their infrastructure to compete.

Auckland 2004 Yellow Pages books
Auckland 2004 Yellow Pages books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Death of the Yellow Pages Dinosaur; is Radio Next?

The Yellow Pages has all but fallen off the map after being relegated to near door stop duties amongst other things. Radio is a little more resilient but it’s not immune. Currently most cars do not have internet service integrated into them but that is changing. Within the next five years it will be a standard feature in newer cars, tied in via the cell phone networks. Internet radio stations like Pandora, Live 365 and BlogTalkRadio will start to have an impact simply because they will provide customized content on demand. A driver will have a choice of what music, news or talk shows they want to hear. They will be able to do this in real-time, choosing what, when and where they want to hear over their internet stations.

The days where TV stations could charge whatever they wanted are gone. News Paper and yellow pages will soon be dinosaurs scratching to survive extinction. Even regular telephone and postal service have undergone huge changes.

Say Goodbye to the Old Bosses - Say Hello to the  New Ones! The telephone monopolies now share their positions with the cell phone companies and other third party players offering Voice Over IP phone service (VOIP). Products like Magic Jack and Vonage have put a big dent in the armor plating at ATT and the others Baby Bells.

Even the postal service has undergone dramatic changes. The US Postal Service has to keep scaling back because of the reduction in mailed letters and documents. Its cost keeps going up because they now mainly have to handle packages and of course they have unions to contend with.  Email has grown to huge proportions and is now the de facto way that most of modern society communicates. The Growth of texting has had a huge influence on the way many people converse. Text messages often get read when emails are ignored and cell calls are relegated to voice mail. It’s become such a problem that Texting while driving is now responsible for thousands of car crashes every year.

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)
Google 貼牌冰箱Google Refrigerator (Photo credit: Aray Chen)
Beware of the 800 lb. Gorilla (a.k.a., Google)

Even online advertising has changed forever. All these changes have had a huge impact on how and what search engines retrieve when we enter a keyword search. Google now controls 81% of all internet searches essentially making a new monopoly. In 2012, Google as made lots of changes to its online model. Google has changed its search engine so that it can evaluate social media posts, tweets, videos, blogs and yes the content on your website. However, only 25% of what Google is looking for is on your website. The rest is off-page items like backlinks, social posts, videos and blogs. Today quality content is king, and if you’re producing a lot of quality content then your website/s (aka internet properties) will be king too.

Unless civilization actually does come to an end on the 21st of December 2012, advertising as we use to know it is on its way out.  This is good news for businesses because Internet advertising offers many benefits that TV, Radio, News Paper and Yellow pages could never provide. The old media giants could never provide accurate viewer numbers. Nor could they provide real interaction with their audiences. Internet advertising on the other hand, provides tracking in and interaction with your audience in spades. You can measure visits, clicks, views, engagement, form fills, downloads, forwards, chats, referrals and many other statistics. For some products it can provide fulfillment with very little or no cost.

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Yes, the Internet has changed the world, as we once knew it. I was born in the 50s and have nostalgic feelings about how TV, newspaper, radio and Yellow Pages. I am amazed today at how they once ruled most our everyday marketing lives. I know now that those days are gone forever and what we have today has the potential to be so much better. I hope you have enjoyed this discussion and that my perspective was useful if not entertaining. If you liked this article, leave us a note. If you have a different opinion, share that with us also.  Working the Web to Win wishes everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukah and a Happy New Year.

That’s my opinion, I would love to hear yours.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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