Mix08: The future of advertising
Like a moron, I didn't realize that the added session on Hard Rock's Silverlight memorabilia site was first, not last, today, so I went to a really boring session on what Microsoft thinks the future of advertising is.
And the truth is, I don't think they know. The presenter said that the entire process of buying and displaying ads online is terribly inefficient (he neglected to mention it's not nearly as bad as other forms of media). The future is going to work more along the lines of ad exchanges, a la the stock market, which is something we've heard countless times in other places, so there's no new information there.
The problem as I see it is not a technical one. Sure, there's no question at all that we can achieve better targeting and transparency, but who is going to be willing to share their data in these exchanges? I'm a little skeptical there. For example, can you see Google saying, "Yes, we have about a half-billion ad impressions available for 30-something females who like bowling?" If they were willing to share that, my suspicion is that they'll want a cut for that, and as a publisher, I worry about the revenue being even further diluted.
Indeed, when you look at the fact that only 5,000 companies buy 90% of the advertising, you start to wonder if it matters.
I'm in the room now where the Hard Rock demo was, and I'm annoyed. I guess I'll have to catch that one on video later.