A Case Against Internet Advertising

By Steve Byers

For years, I’ve been asking politely to see evidence that Internet advertising works. I’ve watched advertising dollars race away from mainstream media to whatever new digital platform seems hottest at any moment. But I’ve always wondered if it works.

In part, that comes from my own experience with finding a new travel location. The beach that I’ve used in recent years has lost its appeal since the latest hurricane attack, so I’m searching for another. Used to be, travel sections were filled with great advertising making me think of this alternative or that. Today’s travel sections are filled with… nothing. Where has the travel advertising money gone, I ask. Why to the Internet where it is targeted, I’m told.

Well I spend much of my life on the Internet, and I am actively seeking travel ideas, and newspaper and magazine advertising guided me repeatedly in the past. Not so today.

I’ve even seen signs that some of the more savvy marketers—autos and financial areas—seem to be shifting back into print while beverage and pharmaceutical advertising never really left. Full page newspaper ads suddenly are appearing again.

Finally some data seeps through: Americans ignore Internet advertising in record numbers. They ignore other forms as well, but not nearly as much as they ignore Internet advertising. Except for product-specific clickthrough ads (where consumers know exactly what they want), what Internet advertising seems to have going for it is that it’s cheap.  So is television at 3 a.m.  You get what you pay for.

Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.

3 Responses to “A Case Against Internet Advertising”


  1. 1 Mary December 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Great post By Steve Byers

  2. 2 Kirk Dover January 9, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Hi Steve! Interesting angle on internet advertising. I also believe that internet advertising although great for a lot of products and services, isn’t really for all. However in general, internet advertising revenues are hitting new highs as seen from this article: http://www.iab.net/about_the_iab/recent_press_releases/press_release_archive/press_release/pr-111710.

    Kirk Dover
    Free Classifieds

  3. 3 J Kirby Bauer December 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I do not mind internet advertising. I accept it as cost of using the internet. However, any internet advertiser that uses flashing and blinking in thier internet advertising turns me off. Even if they are advertising something I want I will refuse to be influence by them because they iritated me with thier blinking and flashing. If an internet advertiser want to reach me they need to produce a tasteful ad that is not irritating


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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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