Online Advertising: Edge of the Abyss?

An analysis of the problems, solutions & what it will look like in the future

Online advertising continues to have huge potential: the concept of an advertiser establishing a real-time two-way connection with a target user can result in great outcomes: for advertisers, for users and for brands & merchants.

But the magic promised by online advertising has not materialized. Instead, the industry has in general over-executed while advertisers have paid insufficient attention to their audiences, which is a cardinal sin for any marketer.

Advertisers will spend over USD 130 billion on ads that are supposed to be served on legitimate publisher sites and seen by real people. But perhaps 40% of this expenditure - an almost unbelievable USD 52 billion - represents wastage, meaning spending on ads that are either never seen, can never be seen or are next to useless.

This 46-page research report presents a well-balanced description and explanation of the main problems and the emerging solutions. An abundance of examples make it very clear where the industry currently is, and what the road ahead will look like.

The report also contains a detailed, hard-hitting analysis of the root causes of the industry’s problems, the main thematic changes that are shaping the industry’s future direction and why, in the end, online advertising will re-emerge stronger than ever before.


Executive Summary4






Status: The Good, Bad and Ugly12


Blind inventory14

Accidental Clicks15

Viewable impressions15

Low quality Creative Content16


Impression Stuffing17

Surveillance Culture18

Clickbaiting / Adbaiting19


When Retargeting becomes Mistargeting22

Clicking is not Reading (and other problems of measurement)22


Way Forward: Solutions24

Emerging ad formats and strategies24

Native advertising24

Content marketing26

Other Initiatives27

Light, Encrypted, Ad Choice Supported, Non-Invasive Ads (LEAN)27

Fighting Bot Fraud28

Viewability Standards29

Google Initiative on Accidental Clicks30

New ways of Measuring the Effectiveness of Online Advertising31

Answers to Ad Blocking32



Market Analysis34

How will the online advertising market be changed as the mess is cleaned up?35

Emergence of permission-based advertising35

Content blindness: too much spammy, scammy content37

Poorly-executed content marketing38

Content carpet bombing39

Flight to quality40

Growth of paid subscription models41

Market consolidation43



About the Authors45

Dr Dave Taylor45

Andrew Sheehy  45

Report Highlights

  • Clear explanation of the major problems
  • Detailed description of latest industry solutions
  • Main thematic changes described
  • Analysis of how the industry will change
  • Powerful, illuminating insights
  • 46 pages

Ordering Information

Title: Online Advertising: Edge of the Abyss?
Pages: 46
Updated: 12 Nov 2015
License: Single User
Format: PDF
Delivery: Email and Online.
Price: £249
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