Advertising is a business of monetizing attention

16745 2019-12-15 21:12

Advertisements are everywhere nowadays in the society of consumption. Although the ways of advertising have changed quite a lot over the past century, the incentives stay the same behind the scene: drawing attention and trying to sell.

Selling Attention

Dating back to the early eighteenth century, most of the ads were just informational instead of being persuasive. This situation did not change until Benjamin Day launched his own newspaper in 1833. In order to obtain a large audience, he set the price at a penny while rivals sold at six cents per copy. The loss was inevitable. However, he began to invite businesses to publish ads in his newspaper with an exposure fee. As a result, the newspaper became phenomenal. Because of Benjamin Day, the world started to realize the value of selling the attention of the audience.

Methodical Advertising

Advertising became more methodical at the beginning of the 20th century, and it was considered as a science. People start to use advertisements specifically for grabing attention. Demand engineering was one of these scientific approaches. It advertised a problem that was never recognized, or sometimes totally fabricated at first, and then claimed the solution of using a certain product. Advertisers of the 1920s also realized that a good reputation could be engineered as well by creating and publicizing a brand.

Forms of Advertising

The main focus of advertising was in public space before the 1920s. Things changed afterward. Radio advertising became very popular, and advertisers were willing to sponsor the radio content, and hear their names being mentioned during the broadcast, which could draw immediate attention from a large audience. However, the role that radio played in advertising was soon replaced by television, which turned out to be a much more effective way of attracting attention till now.

The emergence of the Internet brought another round of ad revolution, during which emails showed up as a new form of advertising. A survey in 1973 found emails comprised 75 percent of all network traffic. Email is very effective because it rewards people. Receiving an email makes people feel good. Search engines such as Google also become significant sources to harvest lots of attention from users. In order to monetize the attention, the Googlers employed an advertising tool called Adwords to display relevant ads to users based on what they are searching for, along with the results.

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