Given the mad rush to install ad blockers, we’re particularly mindful when ads draw our attention on screen.
Consider the monster-sized banner ads on Yahoo Sports, or the full-page roadblocks that face visitors to Forbes.
Despite reports heralding their death, invasive advertising opportunities like these continue to be available to marketers.
So-called interruption advertising comes in many forms — from flashy banner ads to interstitials to email. For the approach to work, it seems, marketers must navigate the fine line between curiosity and nuisance.
We asked some pros how to do it right.
Target your audience
“A lot of people are starting to write-off interruption marketing altogether. But from our experience, that would be a huge mistake,” says Grayson Ervin, founder of CigarsFor.Me. “Interruption marketing is still very effective for us, as long as we’re displaying offers to the right audience.”
One of the company’s most visible ads is a series of free shipping offers delivered en masse via email.
“Emails have proven to be more effective than [subscription-based] product alerts, so they have become a viable part of our business,” Ervins says, noting the email blasts, targeted at value-oriented customers, drive 30 percent of his company’s revenue.
Make it easy
“The only way to make interruption advertising work is to make sure that your call to action — your offer — is easy to opt in to,” says Johnathan Dane, CEO of marketing consultancy KlientBoost. “Asking for something that requires too much effort won’t work with this type of advertising.”
Dane suggests creating multiple CTAs and split-testing them to see which perform the best.
Appeal to the seven deadly sins
Playing to greed, envy, lust, gluttony, and so on tends to be the most effective way to capture attention immediately with an interruption ad, Dane says.
Case in point: the “one weird trick” ads that offer secrets to losing belly fat or sleeping through the night. The ads prey on users’ vanity.
Similarly, “You won’t believe what happens when …” click-bait headlines appeal to our innate curiosity.
Drive toward permission
Of course, appealing to base instincts won’t get you far. “You might be venturing over to the dark side for your top level ad,” says Jan Roos, founder of lead generation agency Expert Engines. “But that doesn’t mean you have to stay spammy all the way through.”
Drive toward getting the potential customer’s permission. For example, provide a free download in exchange for an email address. This can establish a level of trust and set you up for interactions that are not based on an interruption.
Know your platform
“Interruption marketing platforms often use a cost-per-impression model so you literally pay as much for a potential customer as you do for a totally irrelevant viewer,” Roos ads. “Learn the intricacies of the ad platform you are using or hire someone who already knows them so you can make sure your budget is going to the right people.”
Interruptions aren’t for everyone
So it’s possible to make interruption ads work, but should you use them?
Permission marketing tactics are becoming more abundant and en vogue. They’re less subject to the use of ad blockers. Recipients are also less likely to ignore them altogether. The growing embrace of ad-blocking software also suggests marketers tread carefully.
That said, as part of a multi-pronged strategy, interruption ads seem to still have a place.
For now, anyway.
After all: who isn’t at least a little curious about “one weird trick”?