business

Agency leaders endorse choose-your-ad platform Into-It

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Senior ad industry figures have thrown their support behind a new online media platform that allows users to choose the kinds of advertising they want to see.

Lee Henshaw, the founder of digital advertising consultancy Silence Media, has launched Into-It, which aims to be a “disruptive new business” that “challenges the existing ecosystem that is irritating consumers”.

Into-It’s advisory board includes Danny Brooke-Taylor, the creative founder of Lucky Generals, Dino Myers-Lamptey, the founder of The Barber Shop and Joyce Searls, the entrepreneur and digital rights activist.

Lucky Generals has also created the name, brand identity and “look and feel” for the business, which lets consumers turn marketing categories on or off at any point in order to curate their own advertising experience.

Brooke-Taylor said: “We’re all fed up with Google and Facebook rooting in our bins and selling a rotten version of us to the highest bidder. We don’t know what people intend to buy because of the articles they’ve read. We can only truly know what they intend to buy by asking them.”

When visiting the site of a publisher that carries the Into-It app, consumers are asked whether they want to opt-in to the service and which categories they are interested in. 

Henshaw cited an increase in use of ad blockers in the UK as proof that consumers are “tired” of the way the online ad ecosystem operates. About 80% of the the UK digital advertising market is controlled by Google and Facebook, the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority said in an investigation this year.

“If working in display advertising for the last decade has taught me anything, it’s that the whole ecosystem could be hugely improved by asking people what they want to buy rather than guessing,” Henshaw said. “I am excited to be working with some of the most respected names in the advertising industry to launch Into-it and pioneer a new era of humane advertising which benefits all parties.”

In the UK, a boom in ad-blocking appears to have slowed down to a halt in more recent years. A three-year audit by the Association for Online Publishing found that ad-blocking rates fell to 10.3% in 2018, from 11.6% in 2017 and 12.5% in 2016. More internet browsing takes place on smartphones relative to desktop, but less people use ad-blocking software on mobile devices compared to desktop, the AOP also found.

Henshaw believes that giving consumers more control over their personalised experience will mean the reduction of ad blockers being used on publishers’ sites and will reduce ad load and the number of ads media owners need to serve in order to make a profit.

Myers-Lamptey added: “With Into-it, we are predicting that one day the intention economy will one day outperform the attention economy because, as Doc Searls says: ‘What could be better than customer intentions well expressed and understood? The intention economy reflects our changing needs as customers and it’s better for the buyers and sellers of advertising.’”

The online advertising ecosystem status quo is also under threat from Google’s decision to phase out third party cookies – the standard method of collecting data about internet users in order to serve them ads – by next year. Apple is also making it the default setting on iPhones and iPads that ad trackers that collect user data are turned off within apps.

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