Yieldbot’s Mendez: Clicks Aren’t Going Anywhere

Jonathan Mendez, CEO of publisher-side ad-targeting tech Yieldbot, isn’t one to toe the line in deriding the click’s role in online advertising. In fact, Mendez thinks the click is here to stay. He explained his thinking behind five recent tweets he has sent. Mendez thinks social doesn’t hold a candle to search and the only ones who “give two shits” about rich-media advertising are people in the ad industry. Follow him on Twitter @jonathanmendez.

@jonathanmendez: The only people in the world that don’t think clicks are a good online metric work in the display advertising industry. I rest my case.
BM: But wait, I thought the one thing everyone agreed on is that the last-click standard is holding the industry back. Won’t the Web be stuck in a direct-response ghetto until it shakes the (over) reliance on clicks?
JM: There’s nothing holding this industry back. It’s growing roughly 20 percent a year for as far as the eye can see. The people who agree that last click is holding the industry back are the ones drinking the TV-dollars-moving-to-digital Kool-Aid. It’s a tired and baseless claim. Would it be nice to get better cross-campaign attribution? Sure. But even without it digital is going to double in five years. The idea of clicks being a DR metric is also a red herring. There’s more branded content then ever being created, and brands aren’t spending all that money not to get people to visit it.
@jonathanmendez: Bullshit “We are in the midst of a massive shift from a search & intent-based world to a social, people-based world.”
BM: People are clearly using social media more, and sites are seeing referral traffic from Facebook and Twitter rise sharply. Why will it not be enough to unseat search’s death grip as the defining paradigm for how people find information in digital media?
JM: Because search is not a channel, search is a behavior. YouTube is a massively social site. It is also the second-largest search engine in the world. Twitter’s biggest failing to date is not focusing on search to power their business model. Intent generation and fulfillment is channel-agnostic. All that referrer traffic Facebook and Twitter are sending out is full of intent. We see the intent data from those channels everyday in Yieldbot. If you want another proof point look at mobile. Searches from mobile devices are expected to be 44 percent of all retail queries the last week of the holiday. If people can search, they will – and Google will ensure that no matter what the future holds, we will never be too far from a query field and result set.

@jonathanmendez: My .02 on DoubleClick 2010 report: Agencies wasting client money on creative & serving Flash & Rich Media.
BM: You’re not arguing the Web should be all static ads, right? Even Google is now pushing for more creative and “richer” ad formats. Isn’t that the key to the Web getting a chunk of TV budgets, or is that a fool’s errand?
JM: The data tells the story. All media is performance media. The only people that care about rich media are advertising people. Consumers seeing the ads could give two shits and, in this quick-twitch medium, don’t have the time. It’s either relevant or it’s not. What Google will do is make it relevant and then charge advertisers that need to prove their “creative” value more for it. That’s your fool’s errand.

@jonathanmendez: Much as I love NYC it’s not the place to build highly complex Web tech.
BM: Does this apply to advertising technology? Doubleclick was built here after all.
JM: The current display stack is not complex Web technology. If it were complex, it would actually be simple to use. There is a difference between building advertising technology for the Web (Doubleclick) and building Web technology for advertising (e.g., Applied Semantics). I’ve never seen the latter built in NYC. Most of the best I’ve seen over the years has come from Israel or Boston. I think that trend will continue because of the talents pools that exist there for this kind of work.
@jonathanmendez: If there is a “bubble” it is that so much investment has been made in social media without a proven revenue model.
BM: Will social media be seen as something of a fad, at least in terms of the expectations as an ad platform?
JM: Well, it was foolish from the beginning to think that social media would be a good channel for advertising – and many didn’t. Social environs are not where advertisements are generally contextual. Also interpersonal interactions are not a good time to interrupt people with an ad. The web was a social platform from day one, and it will always be because natively it is an open information and communications medium. That said, social from a consumer-media point of view is a completely mature channel. Every other marketing channel I’ve seen emerge on the Web — email, ecommerce, affiliate marketing, paid search — grew like a weed from day one following or exceeding the growth of the channel itself. I’ve maintained for a long time that the monetization opportunities in social are from the ever increasing traffic that is driven off these platforms – same as search.

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