Part Two: Marketing Measurement and Pissing People Off

What type of online marketing just pisses people off? In part one, I listed marketing activities that were effective on paper but upset people until they fought back, with technology and legislation. No marketer wants their targets’ ire aimed at their own marketing. Today many brands avoid pop-ups for just this reason.

So what are marketers doing today that lacks respect and upsets their audience? Where is the next revolt? Here are my top five marketing tactics that upset people, and predictions for what shape a revolt will take. 

Welcome Ads
Named by a dedicated marketer, welcome ads are anything but welcoming. These are the ads that take over a site, blocking access to the content someone was looking for. Diligent marketers see this in the results, with significantly lower engagement and higher bounce rates than other placements on the same site.

Prediction: Technology will begin blocking these, automatically skipping or indicating it was already seen.

Stalking Banners
Generally known as retargeting (and a tactic I advocate with caution), without strict frequency controls, retargeting turns into stalking. Today, ecommerce marketers are frequently guilty, with products briefly considered and rejected stalking you to every corner of the web.

Online Behavioral Advertising
The online advertising industry’s inability to self-regulate to date, combined with profiling practices that are not well understood or disclosed, have brought the focus of regulators and technology solutions from browser companies. Eventual technology or regulatory solutions will limit the potential effectiveness of behavioral advertising.

Perception is reality, and the perception is that online behavioral advertising companies collect and use personal information without regard for the wishes of the audience.

Prediction: Regulation will be only moderately more effective than CAN-SPAM, but will impose new compliance costs and operational limitations on marketers that use both retargeting and behavioral advertising. New browser-based optout mechanisms will limit the available audience for marketers but opt-out rates will be low enough that most marketers do not meaningful change their tactics.

Social Spamming
Social media has given spammers new tools, which they have heartily embraced. Unfortunately brand marketers often follow their lead, looking to develop followings on Twitter with mass follow tactics or drive traffic using low value comments and links back to their own sites. Marketers must stop acting like spammers before they are simply dismissed as part of the noise.

Prediction: Filtering, blocking and prioritization will be added to common social platforms and applications, making them the standard for everyone, not just early adopters.

Auto-play Video
When you auto-play video in an ad, you assume the audience will be more interested in your message than the content or networking they came for. Similar to a welcome ad, you insist on interrupting, getting attention now. Thankfully auto-play with audio has been banned in ads by almost every publisher, if you still do this on your .com site, stop. If you still auto-play video in ads, test alternative ways to capture attention and get someone to choose to play your video.

Prediction: Video blocking will be added to ad blocking software and browsers, with prompts to allow video on non-video sites. Check out kikin.com for an example of a browser plugin that limits auto-play audio today.

What other marketing activities belong on the list? Share your comments below or send them to me on twitter at @wittlake.

Like this post? Subscribe to be notified of future posts!

About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.