“Having worked for over a decade and 5 years of operating my own business and after having met numerous clients, I am probably a tad bit late in writing down my opinion on this topic.
Ad Agencies do best, what they know best – Brand management and brand development. A client can trust them with an ad campaign or may be a micro-site too, but to expect a user-friendly, business generating, functional website from them is plausibly too much to ask for” – Neha Modgil, Founder, TECHVED Consulting.
Fellow Consultants around the world have been talking about the competency of ad agencies when it comes to creating a fantastic online user experience coupled with rich functionality, and recognized the issue a little earlier than their Indian counterparts. Let’s first understand functional area of both the domains.
Advertising Agencies, on getting the client brief, create a strategy, design a campaign around it and give the same feel to the web portal and/or the apps. The primary aim here is to build a brand.However, UX design firm will treat the same brief from a product development perspective – identify the target audience, conduct user research, prototype several solutions, constantly test the prototypes, iterate. When the product is ready, develop-launch-monitor.
It is actually very simple. You create Ads with the intention of grabbing eyeballs and we create websites with the intention of retaining those eyeballs.
A visually Stimulating website may not necessarily be a usable website. For example, the banner may attract a user like a moth to a bright bulb but… once the user notices that the overall design of the product makes it painfully difficult to use, he will run away from it. Why? Because ease and comfort are two things users look for in the design while using an online portal.
“I know a lot about the intersection of the user experience field and the advertising industry. I’ve been jostling with the problem of how to integrate user experience processes into advertising agencies for a while.
The “Big Fish” acquire small consultancies to understand User Experience .I know this from personal experience of refusing one such offer from a Global Advertising Giant.”
The answer is here: ”I foresee generational change, when the current crop of CMO’s retire, and are replaced by people who grok how things actually work. When that time comes, and it will, ad agencies will find themselves marginalized, as it becomes clearer that manipulation and media buying is not nearly as important as an honest engagement with customers through delightful and desirable experiences.” - Peter, Founder, Adaptive Path.
You may read his full views here: http://www.adaptivepath.org/ideas/the-pernicious-effects-of-advertising-and-marketing-agencies-trying-to-deli/
A leading Airline carrier had approached us to primarily validate and evaluate the designs and online experiences created by an Interactive Advertising Giant. Later, they were so stunned by evaluation study, that they asked us to work on the findings and make it worth the business. A similar request came in from a big name in the BFSI segment, when they wanted to validate the work done by a leading Ad agency.
Interactive Advertising agencies have started hiring Information Architects and UX Designers. The money is good, but eventually we’ve only found them forcing good looking designs on usable designs.
This is only an attempt to highlight where the Ad Industry falls short when it comes to developing full-fledged online User Experiences and highly functional online portals. Yes, they have traditionally been good at delivering “Shock and Awe”. But, in the online world, attraction is not enough – it needs to be followed up by Usable, Useful and Functional experience.