The Power and Innocence of Web 1.0

Marketing & Writing

There is a seismic shift happening in today’s marketing scene. Some expected it. Others are being blindsided. Some knew it was coming, but not to this extent. 

I find myself in the final category. It knew it was coming, but there were a couple of things I was not ready for. 

I didn’t expect Google Analytics to be declared illegal in the EU, for example. I used Google analytics on basically all of our website properties, as do most. And if you think your business being located in the United States, for example, is a “get out of jail free card,” think again. 

I also was not too thrilled to learn that my open and click rates would be off thanks to recent changes in Apple Mail. I learned this the hard way just recently while implementing a client’s email campaign. 

What can be done? Here’s a better question: Should anything be done? 

Maybe what the world needs is a return to Web 1.0; a simpler web that did not rely on violating people’s privacy in order to make a buck. People think it has “always been this way”…but that’s not true. 

The old adage goes, if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. This thinking has motivated the incessant cycle of new platforms sprouting up, giving away attention for free, and then charging for that attention once the demand becomes greater than the supply. 

Most marketers continue to play the game. It’s like an addiction. Something that we’re trying at NorthMac is starting to ween ourselves off of this addiction. It will not happen overnight, though.

Web 1.0, at least as it relates to marketing, looks like this: 

  • Make a great product and / or great content
  • Share that product or content far and wide
  • Measure via dollars in the bank 

This model does away with privacy violations, vanity metrics, ridiculous competitions, the comparison game, etc. It’s simpler, calmer, and puts the focus on the right thing: Making something great. 

Can a business who takes this approach win? I think absolutely. The process will be less stressful, though also slower and also less sexy.

Nevertheless, this is how people want to be marketed to. DHH pulls no punches:

People really don’t like getting tracked around the internet by targeted ads. I mean really, really don’t like it. A staggering  96% of users in the US are declining the privilege of being followed  around their apps and websites for the grand prize of “more relevant ads” when given  the choice in iOS 14.5 . The American public can barely agree on anything, but their dislike of targeted ads appear damn near unanimous.

Marketers who rely on targeted advertising (so basically all marketers in 2022) need to do something with this information. DHH says “ban targeted ads now.” Not sure I’m quite to that point yet, but there’s no denying people do not like being followed. Something has to happen. 

Am I turning all of our ads off right now? No. Will I? Maybe. Ultimately what makes people share is a great product.

When’s the last time you raved about a movie based solely upon a late night TV interview with one of the actors? Probably never. You saw it, were blown away, and told everybody for the next two weeks. That’s great marketing that cannot be bought. 

Jun 2, 2022

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