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Annoying advertising goes human!
Back on Halloween I wrote about Intrusion 2.0, that is advertisements that are intrusive by today’s standards. I spoke mostly about the fact that people running video ads have them start with volume by default.
Today I want to show you a few new examples of annoying advertising with a human touch. While these type of pieces have a place, that place is in customer service, not advertising.
When I registered for ad:tech, a woman and man popped up in the lower right corner of the screen and began to talk to me about how wonderful the conference is. And this was on every page. I don’t remember exactly but I believe I had to turn it off page by page.
- Internet advertising will increase by 20% in 2007 (at traditional advertising’s expense) and will be 8% of total advertising.
- He claimed that his “inperson” ads had a CTR of 5%. (I wonder how much of that is people just trying to get rid of it.)
- He also said that regular “banner” ads had an average CTR of just 0.1%… Which seems really low to me.
- An amusing moment was when the host said, “Oh, it’s a pop-up ad” and the CEO freaked out… “No, no, no, it’s NOT a pop-up ad!” Haha.
Before I jump into my views on these advertisements, I was checking out Interactive Marketing Association web sites for cities around the country. Chicago has a nice site. Atlanta appears to very recently relaunched their site and now on every top level page, a woman comes out to talk to me. Not just once, but each time I refresh or come back to the home page, she starts up again. I can click “audio off” but I must do it each and every time. Why? WHY! I don’t get it. I am sure the firm who designed it thought it was creative, and it’s fine once, but allow me the option to a: remove it sitewide and/or b: turn off audio across the entire site and cookie me so the audio does not start on a page which I have already turned it off. (I tried to create a video to demonstrate but unfortunately the human woman’s audio did not come through on the video) so here is a screenshot:
Ok, so now let’s have a look at Rovion. Basically what they do is create human ads on your web site. You can have a person, a monkey, whatever appear on the screen. As Karen noted above, the CEO states a 5% clickthrough rate. What he doesn’t tell you is that (I bet a dozen donuts) the clicks are from users trying to turn the damn people off. Why must I turn her or the ape off? C’mon people. Do the right thing. Have her walk onto the screen and stop. Let me click to start her up. Let me choose to no longer see the ads anymore.
I think this type of ad would work really well in a customer service arena. Picture having her talk to you like a customer service rep. That would be brilliant.
Snap is a good example of a company who lets you turn off their popup preview windows. I turned it off but to actually turn it off you have to know to click the little ? in the popup and then from there go to the turn off previews option. Too much work. So people who are frustrated probably do not understand they can turn them off at all. It’s an easy fix, just add an option to the box with the preview. The box is already quite large, adding another option should be easy.
I think it is great that companies are moving ahead with new types of ads and creating alternatives to a popup or leaderboard ad. But I think the question should be asked in every meeting when brainstorming new ad ideas, “will this piss off the user”. And if the answer is yes, then make sure you give a way to take away the annoying parts. Then you have a product that those who want it can have it and those who don’t won’t and you will avoid being on a discussion like this one. Do the right thing.