Much has been written about why and how Facebook is killing clickbait and what effect that might have on publishers, agencies and marketers. But to truly understand the impact of this newly updated anti-clickbait algorithm, you need to consider a few other recent Facebook policy changes that, when taken together, will make it harder and more expensive for publishers to bundle native content, drive traffic and accomplish their reach goals.
When you analyze the effects of fraud, viewability and ad blocking on the digital display advertising business, then add the ever-increasing abilities of the traffic launderers to game the system, you reach an inevitable conclusion: ad tech has evolved into a toxic ecosystem that is killing itself, and it is taking digital advertising with it.
Bots generate more than half the traffic on the public Internet. This is indisputable. In fact, the Association of National Advertisers believes that advertisers will lose $6.3 billion globally to bots in 2015. This will not stop until someone (the marketers, the government, the justice department) makes it stop because everyone – the ad networks, the traffic sellers, the bot creators, the publishers, the ad agencies, the trading desks, the DMPs, the SSPs, everyone – except the marketers – is making money.
Every crisis needs a villain. The advertising crisis is no exception. Some want to blame ad networks, others want to blame programmatic pricing tools, and still others believe that bad coding is at fault. Page load times are an obvious villain, but maybe we should blame the evildoers who clutter our world with massive amounts of interruptive, unwanted ad fodder. In practice, there are a number of easily identifiable tactical and executional factors contributing to the industry's existential crisis. Sadly, even if the industry could solve all of them, the effort would do very little, if anything, to correct the misalignment of outcomes and incentives that are the root of ad evil.
Perhaps a better title for this article would be "TiVo BOLT – For People Who Love to Be Informed, Enlightened and Entertained by Watching Free Over-the-Air Television or IP-Delivered Traditional Television Content Through a Set-Top Box Rented from a Cable, Satellite or Telco, but Hate the Commercial Advertisements that Subsidize the Content." No matter how you spin this, the TiVo BOLT is a referendum on the state of the commercial television business. After all, you don't really hate TV; you really hate TV commercials. You probably also hate the experience of trying to get all of your content to play on your big-screen TV. This is all about to change.