Dear Advertising, We are not an "audience"
by Doc Searls Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Rise of the Audience Marketplace, in MediaPost, ends with this paragraph:

"Individual channels will become as irrelevant as the manufacturer that supplies the shock absorbers and tie rods in your new BMW. They will simply be grist for the mill in the audience marketplace. Martech and ever-smarter algorithms will do the channel selection and media buying in the background. All you’ll care about will be the audience you’re targeting, the recommended creative (again, based on the martech running in the background), and the resulting behaviors. Once your audience has been targeted and engaged, the predicted path of persuasion is continually updated, and new channels are engaged as required. You won’t care what channels they are -- you’ll simply monitor the progression of persuasion."

Here's my comment below the piece:

Three things.

1) We're not an "audience.. That's a delusional conceit that conflates advertising with what it funds, and for which there is actual demand on the receiving end. Demand for advertising rounds to zero—or less if you factor in ad blocking, tracking protection, ad skipping and other forms of avoidance and prophylaxis.

2) We do not wish to be "engaged." The belief that we do is just one example of the industry smoking its own exhaust.

3) None of us want to exhibit "resulting behaviors." It's an insult to our humanity to be treated as subjects of behavioral experiments, as if we were rats or pigeons.

Or, to compress all three points, quit driving drunk on digital: It's not attractive.

Please do what you do best (and wins the most awards): make ads that clearly sponsor the content they accompany (we can actually appreciate that), and are sufficiently creative to induce positive regard in our hearts and minds. It is a feature, not a bug, that advertising of the old-fashioned and time-proven sort is hard to measure at the personal level.

Make it clear that you're advertising to whole populations, and not individual people—and that you're sponsoring content you and your target populations both value. And you'll be fine.

Bonus link: