Zeynep seeks a simple solution to curb the power of almighty ad tech. We have a simple solution and it starts with a map…

“Ads can be attached to content, rather than directed to people: it’s fine to advertise scuba gear to me if I am on a divers’ discussion board, for example, rather than using my behavior on other sites to figure out that I’m a diver and then following me around everywhere I go—online or offline.

How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump, Zeynep Tufekci 14.08.18

That is a lovely line among dozens in this thoroughly thought-provoking piece by Zeynep Tufekci and goes to the very heart of what Addiply seeks to achieve – simplicity.

That just as if I’m a diver on a diving site then its fine to show me diving ads, so by the same, simple reckoning if I’m a football fan on a local football site so it is fine to show me local ads.

And you can achieve both without the cost of complexity that comes with following me around the web.

A cost that is in itself measurable not just in financial terms but increasingly in terms of my personal privacy. Being followed around the web by intrusive and data invasive ads is a price I’m not willing to pay.

And now in the shape of the likes of the EU and their GDPR regulations I have a ‘big brother’ willing to look after my interests if it helps to rein in almighty tech.

The point of this piece, however, is not to celebrate Zeynep’s essay – as brilliant as it is – rather to extend his journey of simplicity into the act of advertising discovery. ie how do I find an audience, simply.

And for that you need a map.

I have always loved a good map. It tells so many stories through the simple use of colour and numbers.

Which is why it comes to sit at the heart of the Addiply platform.

Click onto ‘Find Ad Spot’ and up comes a map. Zoom into Norfolk as one might being a Norfolk business seeking a Norfolk audience and lo and behold here comes the two ad slots that sit on MyFootballWriter.

And MyFootballWriter being a site about Norwich City, why wouldn’t we put the publisher’s postcode down as Carrow Road, the home of Norwich City?

Now the ad opportunity is ‘pinned’ to the football ground – you are tying subject matter, football, to a specific geographic location, Carrow Road, on a easily recognisable map interface.

There is no fancy algorithm pushing such an outcome, just basic logic driving a simple piece of reasoning.

Which is all Zeynep seeks with his diving ads.

When I’m on a diving site, ping me diving ads. That’s when I’m fair game to be marketed to; I’m in the mood for a wet-suit ad. Hit me up…

By the same token, I’m an advertiser looking for a local audience so show me on a map where that local audience is.

OK, it’s there… just there. I get that. I can see what you’re offering me. Nice, simple and straight-forward.

And that’s fine. The difficulty comes in rolling back big, complex tech to allow simple solution providers room to breathe and flourish.

That the grip of Google and Facebook on our attention – ie ad dollars – is now so tight that no-one can make a play for that space.

That’s the big challenge.

But for now, I’m with Zeynep. Simple solutions to simple demands.

And that starts with a map.



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