2 min read

Ad Money Is Going To The Wrong People

We watch ads but the money goes to the people who create the content around the ads. Can some of that money be directed to us?
Ad Money Is Going To The Wrong People
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash. The best ad for two off-color pixels ever made.

Okay, look, no one wants to talk about ads but we’ve gotta do it anyway.

Maybe people do want to talk about ads? Does anyone like the ad industry? People like cheese that smells like a pile of rodent turd covered in maggots so I guess there's someone for everything.

That said, it's not really productive to be judgy. So let's just say there might be a better way for companies use their gobs of advertising money. Instead of, you know, hiring the most creative writers and photographers and cinematographers to make those watching an ad feel like they need something that they weren't even thinking about.

The Problem

Ads are instrusive when they aren't wanted. And far less effective.

But. There are some times when I do like to watch ads. Certainly not in the middle of a television show or podcast, no no, but when I want to buy a product.

For example, I recently got a rice cooker. But never having owned one before, I had no idea which brands were good, or if it was even worth getting more than the cheapest. I needed knowledge of all the products and which product makers are aiming their products towards me.

There was a period of time when sites like Wirecutter did a pretty good job here. I don’t think they do as good of a job anymore, for whatever reason. And the sites that do are harder to find, buried under a wave of affiliate-program-powered nonsense.

What I really wanted was to watch a bunch of ads of all the competing brands and models. I would’ve taken an hour and watched ad after ad for rice cookers until I found the one I wanted. Pitch me! Sell me! I’m a high-intent customer ready to be sold something. Use your advertising skills to make me feel good about your product. Then I'll make a shortlist, do a little due diligence, and buy something.

The Solution

A platform for high-intent ad viewing. Say you want to buy a car – you can filter by some parameters and watch the car ads targeted to you.

And then the site pays you. Instead of paying their entire ad budget to TV networks and podcasters, you get a little bit of money from every company pitching you.

Seriously, they should pay us to watch all those ads. Even if it’s just a few dollars, give us some of the money you would normally pay the media companies to throw ads at low-intent customers.

This could be a huge acquisition channel for all kinds of companies.

You probably need some sort of vetting and application process to weed out the people who would watch ads all day and not buy anything, but that’s easily done I’m sure.

And the unit economics might be so bad you only make a few cents per ad view. Which ... maybe isn't worth it. But if the purchases can be more direct to consumer and cut out the retailers, some of that could go to the buyer as well. (Rakuten for ads?)

I dunno the specifics but it feels like there's a new advertising channel waiting to happen. Or it's impractical for 100s of reasons I don’t understand. But as a consumer I would really dig a platform like this.