Interstitial ads: Too much of a bad thing?
Gerry McGovern wrote recently that finding is the new advertising. Not a new concept really - search moguls Google and Yahoo have been making money for years now displaying targeted ads - not the advertising to the masses that gets done in newspapers, radio, and TV.
But what's really new is the level of ad-receptiveness, or lack of it really. Today we are advertising averse. Ad-blind.
My wife thinks watching the previews is one of the best parts of going to the movies. Why? We expect it. We are receptive to it. We want it. It's entertaining and enticing. It's the Free Prize. Most people are not annoyed by the previews - most of the people that I know like them.
Interstitial ads are all the rage online. But they make you wait for what you want. In contrast, no one I know likes watching these ads and usually looks to see if there's a "skip this ad" button.
The web has brought new powers and capabilities to advertisers to reach people in new ways. The web allows marketers to target niche audiences that would have been cost prohibitive to reach in the past. The incredible success of the Google Adwords program is due to two main factors: (1) they can be incredibly granular and targeted allowing for great relevancy; and (2) they are at times very beneficial - providing useful links to the information, product or service the user was searching for.
In the short life of the web, online advertising has already seen several trends come and go. Pop-ups and banner ads, while still somewhat effective, are considered "old school." The interstitial ads, while very popular now, seem too much like television to me. They are the non-targeted, non-relevant, in most cases non-interesting commercial before the show. They are the painful, annoying opposite of a free prize.
One thing is for certain: online advertising is here to stay. New techniques and technologies will undoubtedly bring us new forms of advertising. But it's obvious we have a ways to go before we figure out exactly how content and advertising will live together in online harmony.