Disruptive Online Marketing - To Use Or Not To Use?

We’ve all seen the car ad that takes over your screen - it drive right over the text of the page for a surprising effect. Or the large overlay which tracks with the browser window until the (usually quite engaging) clip has finished.

These are generally referred to as OTP (Over The Page) advertisements and they have increased in popularity and creativity over recent years. Advertisers and Marketers have enthusiastically embraced this new approach as it provides strong cut through, dramatically increases click-through and allows an amazing amount of creativity if properly utilised.

It is, in effect, a way of having online advertising deliver the same forced consumption as television ads (and this property of OTP has been discussed  around the web before now). Which ordinarily would be a good thing.

Here, though, is the kicker.

Web users aren’t a TV audience.

They behave differently; they are looking for information to be delivered in a different, much more interactive and proactive way. They are not content to passively consume information. They are technically savvy and will respond badly to their freedom of choice being constrained.

If Over The Page advertising is used which does not conform to best practice, users will find a way to circumvent the ads, or punish the advertiser and site by submitting complaints and avoiding the advertisers product. This sort of negative reaction  is obviously the reverse of the intent of the advertisement in the first place.

So, what’s best practice?

  1. Give the user an obvious opt-out. High contrast X or close (or both).

  2. Make sure the ad doesn’t go on for too long. 10 seconds is an absolute maximum. If the premise is simple, try to reduce the time even further.

  3. Keep the file complexity down. The use of complex animations, transparencies and multiple gradients (amongst other things) all contribute to the CPU load the users computer will be under. The more complex the ad, the slower the users computer will run, the more unhappy the user becomes.

Keep your online audience happy and they are more likely to engage with the ad.