Can Advertising Save Web 2.0?
The viability of the online advertising model (i.e. non search-based) upon which so many 2.0 companies are relying on has always worried me. But I had no data to back this up. However, Danah Boyd has come to the rescue with this post that highlights this research.
It confirms that my habit of never having clicked on an online ad is very much the majority behaviour and Danah makes an interesting moral point about online advertisers potentially being seen as exploitative of the less well-off. I wonder too if this will affect them in the eyes of offline consumers who will not want to be associated with "down-market" brands?
More than that, while I'm not expecting the demise of Facebook, it is interesting to parse these findings with Danah's earlier report about the class differentials between MySpace and Facebook users. Might that not suggest that Facebook's audience are much more likely to be among the non-clicking majority? If it does, then their revenue estimates might be under threat.
Some will rightly retort that onlne advertising can be used for brand-buidling rather than click-through, but that too has yet to be proven and surely falls prey to the avoidance culture that effects all advertising (as eye-tracking evidence is beginning to show). Interesting times.