Banner ads work. Banner ads don’t work. Banner ads are just wallpaper.
It doesn’t matter what your opinion is of banner ads, someone out there has a study that will agree with your position.
However, as online publishers develop new “higher impact” online ads, recently published results should serve as a warning to both publishers and advertisers::
Don’t allow ads to come between your audience and the content they are looking for.
The results from these ads can be misleading. Yes, they deliver a high click rate, but at what cost? How many people do they piss off?
People Hate Interruptive Ads
The latest study compares pre-roll ads, a classic example of putting ads between the audience and the content they are looking for, and straight embedded video ads. The results are telling:
People exposed to pre-roll were 29.3% more likely to think unfavorably of the brand! (source)
We have known for years that consumers don’t like disruptive advertising, and some of the more obnoxious formats have mostly disappeared (ie popups). However, every time a new interruptive ad format is introduced, it is aggressively adopted by marketers until consumers find a way to avoid it (ie popup blockers).
As marketers, why do we have to wait for consumers to find a way to block ads? We know the very individuals we are looking to endear ourselves with hate these ads, but we set aside any concerns we may have of favor of a positive measured result from less than 1% of recipients.
How Advertisers Still Interrupt With Ads
Despite wanting to create a positive impression with people who hate interruptive advertising, marketers and publishers continue to embrace interruptive formats. Here are just a few common offenders:
- Pre-Roll Ads. Advertisers are saying “watch our 30 second ad before you can see the video you are looking for.” Adding insult to injury, it still continues to be the same ad, over and over again, often for only a couple of minutes of real content. No wonder consumers have a negative view of a pre-roll advertising brands in the study referenced above.
- Welcome Ads. Ads that intercept you on the way to a page or piece of content, taking over the entire page with a large format banner, are anything but welcoming, despite the common “welcome ad” name. Yes, click rates are high, but bounce rates are high as well, as people looking to skip the ad accidentally click instead.
- Auto Expanded Ads. Similar to a welcome ad, these ads take over nearly the entire screen, pushing down content until they close or collapse, often after 7 seconds.
- Auto-Play Video Ads. Often these are combined with pre-roll, playing automatically, with sound on, when a page initially loads.
You Need To Care
Do you carefully shepherd your brand, monitoring frequency and avoiding programs that could undermine the brand equity you have built to date? If so, interruptive advertising is the wolf in sheep’s clothing in your marketing.
What other ad formats or marketing tactics are so obnoxious that they actually undermine a marketing plan, in spite of any positive measured results they may drive?
Share your examples in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).