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In a perfect world of advertising, each and every single solitary piece of digital marketing content that somebody has uploaded to the internet would pass through a Don Draper like filter, conceived from that wondrous moment of introspection that leads to the perfect tagline, that super bowl half-time show stopping commercial, or that perfect piece of Billboard copy that causes bumper to bumper traffic on the 405.

Lucky for those of us that work in online advertising…the world does not demand that level of perfection. Yes, it’s a glass half full industry out there: one filled with 5 dollar blog posts, 10 dollar web banners, 8 dollars sliders and spelling mistakes galore…the world of digital advertising is a world of : “eh…it’s fine…post it” The bar is set gloriously low when businesses are more concerned about how many people are viewing their advertisements rather than whether their advertisements are actually worth seeing in the first place. In a great many cases…the bar doesn’t even exist at all.

“Who’s Your Copywriter?”

And therein lies the conundrum: All business owners who are considering a digital marketing campaign must one day sit down and ask themselves honestly “Do I budget for web traffic? Or do I concentrate on conversion?” and for the small but potent minority of online marketing professionals who actually take a vested interest in the quality of content that they unleash upon the internet, the answer is simple: you plan for both. Contrary to popular belief, it is still possible to get people to visit your website without having to blast your subscribers email inboxes, or spamming random forums with bot software…I know…unbelievable huh?

Digital marketing deserves a good practice, in fact…it deserves the best of practices. Digital marketing deserves to rise above the ashes of the sub-standard spam practitioners who have long tried to “salt the clouds and ruin the picnic”. Digital marketing deserves an ethos, nay…it deserves an artform. For those of you out there who still hold onto a romantic heart, the prospect of finding something truly human online must seem like a dead and gone dream. But dreams are meant to come true.

At this point, I know what you are thinking: trite segue Ryan…what’s next? “When you wish upon a star, your organic web traffic will sky rocket and your bounce rate will plummet…zippity doo da?” stick with me…my story gets better…

Last weekend I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who works at a rather large traditional print and media ad agency. Over the course of a Mad Men movie marathon and some spirited shop talk this person intimated to me that the vast majority of copywriters and “ad-men” in the so-called “traditional print” ad world that she revolved in were sorely lacking in the tech savvy department. This was (of course) not necessarily news to me, I’ve met plenty of copywriters whom don’t know how to answer their own email, much less operate a CMS. But it got me to thinking: “What’s it gonna take to make these worlds collide? How long until the ad savvy and the tech savvy just make nice and play? How long until the day that they meld? Like “Kuato” and that guy who played the creepy driver in twins did in that movie “Total Recall” to form some super rebel advertising superhuman mutant…thing?”

And then I did more thinking…”what if it has already happened?” SEOMOZ’s Rand Fishkin recently introduced a blog post in light of the rise and prevalence of social signals and user data in google’s search ranking algorithm. In that post, he discussed the rise of social media aptitude within the scope of an SEO, and how the trade must evolve. I contend that the work of an SEO has thoroughly evolved from being an individual who is able to bring your website organic traffic into someone who serves as more of a consultant on optimizing your site into a place that actually deserves that traffic. While I do not entirely agree with his position that we are due for a title change, I can certainly agree that the job of SEO and internet marketer has changed. No longer will technical knowledge or computational aptitude be enough to keep you afloat in the “post-panda” “pre-Kuato” online advertising age…no. Now is the time for each and every man woman or business owner who sits behind a computer wondering how to get people to view their website to take a long hard look at their web page and see if it is actually worth looking at in the first place.

In the traditional world of digital advertising, website optimization is a tried and true process of on-site optimization combined with studious and responsible link building. In the contemporary world of SEO, the importance of creating something actually worth viewing is becoming more and more important. Technically speaking, on site optimization and link building are still the respective king and queen of organic web traffic. But woe is the SEO who neglects the importance of social shares and signals within his ranking factors. Don Draper would have made one hell of an SEO.

For more Internet marketing insights and tips follow Ryan Farrell on Twitter and/or Google+


2 thoughts on “Creativity in Digital Advertising? Eat My Shorts Don Draper!
  1. Dave says:

    What do you mean by In a great many cases…the bar doesn’t even exist at all ?

  2. Ryan says:


    Put simply, when I say “the bar doesn’t even exist at all” I mean that some people have absolutely no idea how to craft a piece of content that doesn’t have to be patently offensive in order to get noticed…

    And I used that blog post as an example

    But…then again, the guy got me to link to him…so from a link baiting standpoint, he succeeded brilliantly.

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