Website Advertising Is About To Change. Are You Ready?
Curatti note: This is an important and very timely piece by Bryan Goodwin. He tells stories of obnoxious sales tactics of days gone by, and likens them to modern day website advertising on the web. All ultimately leading to the obvious question: What is acceptable today?
If you wish to skip past the history and get to what’s happening now, please click here. We wouldn’t typically do such a thing, but we’re really curious as to your thoughts on this important subject. And given that many common tactics are about to be removed as options by Google and Apple, it is something everyone will have to think about soon engough.
Back in the day
There used to be a person that roamed the countryside. This person took many different forms. The hunt was always the same. The hunter would often target women. This person would target a house. They would then walk up to the front step. Set down the bag of implements and knock on the door. When the lady of the house opened up the door? POOF! A hand full of dirt would land on the clean carpet, and the hunter would pounce.
Hello, my dear, I see you have a bit of a stain on your beautiful… Oh, it’s white… carpet. Let me introduce you to the Vacumatic 3000. This baby could suck the chrome off a bumper hitch if you give it time…
The lady of the house has become the victim to the classic vacuum cleaner salesman. She would have to sit there and listen to his whole spiel. Because he promised that he would be able to “…get every last ounce of dirt out of that white carpet!” Did he grind his heel into the dirt for added panache?
In the 40’s and 50’s, the hardworking housewife often prided herself on the cleanliness of her house. The last thing she wanted was to have a nasty dark stain of dirt right on her stoop. This poor lady who just put Frank’s favorite dish in the oven, and was hoping June would come by as she often does on Tuesdays. Alas, now she is having to listen to an ex-sideshow barker as he blathers on about the benefits of using this contraption. She is sure that this vacuum doesn’t work any better than the last two she bought.
The Salesman has no idea that she isn’t listening to a word he is saying, and keeps talking. All she can think of is at least he didn’t pour water on it as the last salesman did. It took her two weeks of scrubbing to get the vast majority of the mud out. You can actually still see the ghost of that episode when the sun hits it right.
The Wrong Attitude
Now, why would the salesman do that? If you asked the door to door salesman, he would say, “because it worked.” Since he started doing this dirty trick, his sales numbers have doubled. Which means, our salesman sells a vacuum each week instead of every other week. So is that really a good tactic? Many salespeople would say, “Yeah you get more sales. If it works, it’s a good tactic.” Well, that is true, till you walk down the street and every house has a sign that says “No Soliciting.” Then there are the towns that have ordinances against the door to door salesman. I would then, have to ask, how well is that tactic working for you now?
Customers have had to face this problem each decade, as a new tactic is deployed. Sometimes there is a rehashed tactic that is tried again a few years later. While other folks take a classic and give it a “fresh spin”, like the following funny door to door salesman.
Granted, I am not an expert on salesmanship, but I have read a few things by Zig Ziglar and the like. Never do I hear the author or speaker tell readers to find the best way to irritate your potential customer. In fact, I hear the opposite. Find ways to thrill and please your customer. Build trust with your client is often the point.
Yet through the years, we have had phone solicitors interrupting our dinners. And perfume testers at the mall causing our wives to question our fidelity. And all because it worked! Because of the Phone sales man, everybody got answering machines. We then started to screen out calls. Sadly, we still have to become Neo to avoid the perfume spritzers.
Because it Works?
This “irritate your customer because it works” mentality has progressed all the way to the internet era. Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, you would get hit with popups. Back then, you could find yourself irritated, as you were closing the volley of 13 or more popup windows.
The internet marketer would turn around and sneakily add what is called a pop-under. These were just like pop ups, except you didn’t see them unless you were paying attention to your taskbar. These would show up underneath your current window. Then these marketers discovered that you could play video. That really made it interesting and annoying. You didn’t know which window was making that noise and you were busted to the whole office, that you were not working but browsing the net. This irritation that was created was a problem looking for a solution. That solution was to create a popup blocker. It became so bad that the popup blocker is now pretty much a standard on every browser.
Again I ask: “If it works so well why are people coming up with ways to block your attempts at selling?” If your product is so wonderful, why are you irritating your leads with annoying ads? Most often, the reason is that it works.
The last time advertisers got out of hand was when we had the advertising crash in the early to mid-2000’s. That was about the time you stopped seeing the x10 camera ads. The popup blockers were being implemented in everything including Internet Explorer. The ads had hit such a level of annoyance that ad blockers themselves were being used. Shortly after that, the auto playing video ads also died away, and the net became nice to visit again. That is because the money wasn’t as readily available anymore.
How Are Things Today?
Try to go to a site and not get hit with some type of interstitial ad. Now add the fact that most people these days are on their phone. Tell me if you have had this happen More often than not, this ad is asking you for your email address. Doesn’t seem like much, I know, and many people sign up so they can get rid of the damn thing. Then the problem only gets worse. Sometimes you can’t find the X to close the stupid ad.
Then there’s the highly inconsiderate internet marketing baboon. They think that since they can make more money by showing a video, that person will love to see the ad auto-play and with sound! How do you personally respond to seeing a video that is eating away at your precious tiered data plan? Me? I am hitting the back button or close as fast as I can. So I don’t get the information nor does the Newspaper get any money. Nobody is winning with this solution. If you complain to the site, you get one of two responses. Most likely you get no response at all. The site in question just ignores your complaint, but if you happen to get a response it will be you can close the tab. Or better yet you can just press the back button. Again nobody wins.
I’m Not Anti-advertising
I understand that it costs money and time to make these articles. These media companies and blogging sites are trying to get compensated for their work. I understand the adage of there being no such thing as a free lunch. As any fish knows, all free lunches have a string attached. In the case of these websites, they should be able to generate some income for the effort they have put into the site. There is the writing and then the promotion. It is time-consuming work.
The catch is, many writers have been told what works. Yeah, you get more sign-ups with popup windows. But if your visitor won’t return after the 4th time that same ad has popped up? Is getting an email address worth running a reader off? I know there are several sites that I like, or liked, that I don’t visit as often as I would enjoy. They are always asking me for my email address. My favorite news sites have pretty much run me off because they are overdoing the ads.
The issue of interruption marketing is about to make a lot of bloggers mad. They are going to be screaming I can’t make money. They are right and it is their own fault. The big bad interrupter this time is Google. Google is about to block popups on their mobile Chrome browser. And it looks like Apple will be doing the same for their Safari browser. Why? Because too many internet Marketers have the “because it works” attitude. This is a great move by Google if for any reason it is protecting the advertising market. This new blocking software will be included in the chrome browser sometime next year. Sites like Forbes, the LA Times and the New York Daily News will have their ads blocked – unless they make some serious changes.
What’s a bad Ad?
Google has laid out what they consider a lockable ad. For the Desktop, they are Ads that load before the content. These usually will have some type of countdown timer.
Ads that load before the content. These usually will have some type of countdown timer:
- The classic Pop-up ad.
- Those large annoying ads that stick to the edge of the page you are reading.
- Then the Classic Auto play video with the sound turned on.
For the Mobile ads, you will want to make sure you don’t have these types of ads because they will be blocked:
- Again, the Auto playing ads with sound. I wished they would include any auto playing ad.
- Full-screen ads that scroll over your whole page and you have to hunt for the close button. Yeah, these types are toast.
- The ads that load before the content.
- If you have an ad Density greater than 30%, you might start weeding out any excess.
- Low performing ads.
- Animated Ads. Those need to be gone because no one will see them on their phones.
- Large sticky ads
- Popup ads
So how do you fix it?
Glad you asked: Google actually has a tool that can help you determine if you have overdone the ad experience. In the Webmaster Tools, Google has created a tool for you with their Ad experience Tool. So run this and see what Google has to say.
After that, the solution is very easy. Treat others as you want to be treated. The attitude of ‘If they don’t like it they can hit that back button’, is not the correct answer. Would you rather be treated as a revered customer? Possibly have the owner act as if without you their business would fail? Or would you rather be treated as just another person who is just barked at as they are passing by? Most people want to be treated as if they are important. You can do that and advertise to your customer at the same time. You can collect that coveted email address. First, give your customer all the value you can generate. The Law of reciprocity still works. There so many ways you as a site owner and advertiser can.
There are ways to inspire and educate your customer so that they desire to buy from you. Hitting them over the head is not the solution. Giving a solution to the problem is the fix. So let’s change that attitude.
Editor’s note: Do you have any strong thoughts on this subject? Certainly, we at Curatti have tussled with the idea of some form of pop-over CTA. Mindfulness of what we dislike as consumers and site visitors, has stopped us from doing this until now. But what is a company to do in order to balance their need to sell (or at least grow their email list), with the need to keep their readers (and potential leads) happy.
Do you use website advertising? If so, are you likely to be affected by the upcoming changes?
And most importantly, whatever you do on your own sites, what do you consider acceptable as consumers? That’s the real question here.
Featured image: “http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background“. Background image created by Kues1 – Freepik.com
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Latest posts by Bryan Goodwin (see all)
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