Few marketing tactics are as hated as the pop-ad ad. A Harris Interactive poll last year showed that Americans find irrelevant pop-up ads even more annoying than ads for male or female enhancement.
Yet marketers continue to use them, aggressively (MacKeeper is a personal pet peeve). Pop-up ads are 49% more noticeable than other online ads types. I’ve heard marketers tout the high conversion rates from pop-up ads. It’s hard to argue with the numbers.
However, I wonder if marketers are really factoring in the long-term costs of annoying their audience when they base decisions on short-term conversion factors alone.
The pop-up mentality extends beyond online ads to marketing in general. The numbers can lead marketers to focus on interruption gimmicks rather than building long-term relationships with their audiences.
There’s an arms race underway for attention span. Marketers continually find new ways to interrupt people’s attention and consumers continually try to block or ignore them. There’s not nearly enough emphasis on creating a reason to actually hold someone’s attention.
I like Dharmesh Shah’s synopsis, from Hubspot:
“Humans dislike interruption. People hate ads–especially pop-ups–when they’re trying to do something else. It’s an irritating experience, and irritated people won’t buy from you.”
Or as Copyblogger put it, “There is no question that pop-ups “work” — but to what end?”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the marketing line between annoying and effective.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)