Is This the End of Interruptive Advertising?

by Marina Arnaout | Culture

Is this the end of interuptive advertising?

In short, no.

Industry experts and opinion enthusiasts have been debating the top of native vs. interruptive advertising, quick to predict the end of interruptive ads.

For those not familiar with the terms, native advertising places brand content such as videos, photos and articles directly into the content of the publisher’s website, matching it up with the website instead of fitting ads into boxes separated from and around the content. For example, Facebook's sponsored stories, Twitter’s promoted tweets, and promoted videos on YouTube.

On the other hand, interruptive advertising is more of a traditional approach of ad placement through which the ad is separated more obviously from the website content. Examples include but are not limited to pre-roll and mid-roll video ads, video banners, boxes, buttons, pop-ups, as well as traditional television and print commercials.

While bloggers and social media critics have been quick to praise the shift towards native advertising while looking down on interruptive ads, interruptive ads are not going anywhere just yet.

What's so good about native ads?

In general, aggressively pursuing consumers’ attention can be perceived as an invasion and causes annoyance. It is true that people generally respond much better in a natural setting. You could argue that the most effective advertising has always been native to the environment.

For example, on the radio, a native ad can be considered a live DJ recommendation or other earned media in traditional forums. Also, speaking from experience, the best click through rate is received from Facebook ads that target friends of friends and note the recommendation of their peers rather than direct brand advertising.

So why is interruptive here to stay?

Whether you like to admit it or not, interruptive marketing practices have been recognized as beneficial for advertisers with ads increasing consumers’ brand recall, recognition, and awareness. It also appears as though people are still responsive to the interruptive ads such as pre-rolls.

For example, findings by a researcher Daisley actually contrast an earlier case study of YouTube ads from February 2011 (that states 70% of users skip the ads prior the video). In this study, the advertiser was the sportsbrand GoPro who served a series of ads of 30, 90 and 120 seconds to showcase their sports cameras. They reported that only 35% of users chose to skip their pre-roll ads, certainly a lot lower than the 70% being claimed by YouTube as the user average.

Today people are more used to this form of advertising and are comfortable with the fact that they can access good content from brands by choosing to watch the ads. There are studies stating that interruptive ads have an impact on the consumers’ actual purchase behavior—and in particular on their willingness to pay for the advertised product depending on the control he or she have upon it (such as being presented with an option to skip a pre-roll makes the ad less repulsive and the user will be more likely to engage).

Also, native advertising can also appear too intrusive to the consumer when lines are crossed. When market researchers are literally wiring consumers up and tracking where their eyeballs go, the searches and the conversations, it may be tough to balance. Consumers are more used to intrusive advertising but when native ads blend in a little too well, it makes them uncomfortable.

DON'T MISS: Google pays record $22 million fine for violation of users' privacy rights.

Most consumers also say they don’t think advertisers should be allowed to target ads based on browsing behavior—67% of those polled in a December 2010 USA Today/Gallup poll.

There is still a huge sentiment against online behaviour advertising with the words “tracking” not being very well received. Although interruptive advertising still targets consumers based on the available data, it follows an approach that consumers are more used to rather than blending in fully. When does it become too much? How well can you blend in an ad before all trust is lost?

In the end, what it all comes down to content. You need to be a great story teller and have a great story to tell whether through a sponsored Facebook post or a preroll video on YouTube.

Mark Campbell, director at VMG Cinematic, a video marketing agency that deals with native and interruptive advertising, defines brand building as “building the perceptions of your target audience.”

"Consistency and repetition are a sure way to create a focused brand image and ingrain your message into the minds of those you are trying to reach," he confirms. "This means sending out this message throughout various channels: native and interruptive, traditional and nontraditional, online and offline."

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VMG Cinematic
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

VMG Cinematic is a Toronto based digital agency specializing in online video production and social media marketing. We connect brands with consumers by producing engaging video content – web shows, viral campaigns, mobile videos – that people actually want to watch. Then we go one step further, by guaranteeing a targeted audience. See, with 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute,... more

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Marina Arnaout

Marina Arnaout

Marina Arnaout is a frequent contributor to industry publications often covering the latest technology and business trends. She currently holds the role of Regional Head of Digital at SAS - a global leader in business intelligence and analytics. For more, follow Marina on Twitter @marinarn. more

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