In today's digital world, it feels like we need to be constantly tuned-in to countless flows of information. Ironically, we end up remembering less and with a shortened attention span, resulting in a lose-lose for consumers like us and also advertisers. In fact, "the fifth-highest cause of stress in peoples’ lives is advertising."
Besides, for people trying to use technology to improve lives, ads often get in the way of adding and receiving value.
So, What's the Solution?
One solution is for marketers and advertisers to try out alternatives to paid ads, which often end up over-saturating their respective mediums. One alternative is digital word-of-mouth, which requires authentication mechanisms so users can trust recommendations.
One solution is presented by Melanie Mohr, CEO of WOM Protocol and YEAY, which connect content creators, brands, and platforms with ad-free marketing.
Paid ads don't just stress us out, they barely work in the first place because of things like bots, click farms, banner blindness, and trustlessness.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is a far more effective tool, but to harness this digitally, you need an authentication mechanism and protocol, which is where WOM comes in.
Stripping out the techno-jargon, what this means is we can have a future without ads, where you're actually paid to create and review content online, and that content is stuff you can trust.
For you, right now, that means you can use social apps like YEAY to avoid ads, because their business model is entirely different: It's based on trust and word-of-mouth.
My hope for the future is that more social platforms adopt alternatives to paid ads, and we can see less and less ads online, creating a more beautiful digital experience for everyone.
A lot of Gen Z and Internet users in general are giving up on social platforms because of the stress and anxiety they cause. However, it's not too late for social altogether, and better platforms are emerging out of this void.
Marketing Issues With Paid Ads
As a marketer, I am constantly experimenting with paid ads, whether it's Google, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Facebook, and amassing millions upon millions of impressions along the way.
Also, as someone with an analytical mind, playing with ads feels like a kid playing with a jigsaw puzzle. It's always fun to fiddle with the targeting until you get that coveted ultra-cheap Cost-Per-Click!
However, paid ads are not what they used to be, for a metaphorical cornucopia of reasons. Our attention spans have become incredibly limited.
This wouldn't be a huge problem if your ad was the only thing users were looking at. However, don't forget "banner blindness," or the growing ability of people to completely ignore ads (if they didn't already have AdBlock installed).
So, if for some strange reason, a real user (read: not-a-bot) is looking at your ad out of the hundreds she or he sees everyday, the likelihood that they'll trust your ad and end up becoming a recurring paid user is become slimmer and slimmer.
Therefore, alternatives like Word-of-Mouth (WOM) are becoming more attractive, especially in light of recent tech trends.
So How Exactly is Tech Changing WOM?
On the polar opposite of paid ads, you have Word-of-Mouth (WOM) marketing. WOM is when people who trust each other share honest recommendations.
Every day, 2.1 billion Word-of-Mouth recommendations are shared, and they have the highest conversion rate of any channel.
If you're not into marketing-lingo, picture this: Your friend recommends you buy a sick pair of shoes, or you see an ad for a pair of shoes. Which recommendation is more important to you?
Ultimately, the answer to that question belies the increasing likelihood that we'll see a future of WOM-based social platforms instead of ad-based ones.