How can we solve the conflict between intrusive and effective advertising?

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intrusive advertising

Recently, Google has been developing some initiatives to control the harmful impact of excessively intrusive advertising within its network. Glaring full-screen “takeover” ads are now highly restricted/eliminated, and you Chrome browser will allow you to reduce (even eliminate) irritating ads.

At first blush, you might think this policy to be against Google’s interests — after all, the great bulk of the its revenue arises from advertising sales/brokerage. But there is a problem: Increasingly, computer and mobile phone users are installing ad blocking software. If this practice becomes wide-spread, virtually no advertising will reach the intended audience, and then of course the advertising will be effectively worthless.

This story has in some ways been expressed throughout advertising history. Run too many intrusive broadcast television ads, and trips to the kitchen/bathroom will rise — or users will record the shows, and zap the ads on replay. Try telemarketing or canvassing; the ultimate one-on-one in-your-face advertising, and you’ll drive communities/governments to pass highly restrictive legislation.

Conventional print media and non-intrusive Internet advertising to some degree escape these risks — you can easily flip the page to avoid the ads you don’t want to see. But then are your ads really working?

Are there answers to these issues? Well, none are perfect because each have trade-offs.

Who cares? . . . I’ll push the ads in front of my audience because ultimately we get the orders and that is what we need.

The old-fashioned brute force argument has some merit; if you can get away with it. If you spam (within legal boundaries or limits) and force your ads in front of your audience, and they result in profitable business, should it matter to you that you are diminishing the overall effectiveness of the advertising medium? I can’t tell you not to do it, if you are succeeding, at least for now.

Focus on creativity and relevance — make the ads fun to view, and target them effectively.

This may be the ideal approach, if you can take the time to build the creative content and set the targets so they match your demographics. Of course, you can get creepy if things get too targeted. The biggest challenge here is it isn’t easy to come up with really good creative messaging; especially if you need to micro-tune it. ┬áIf you are a small business, you may find it is beyond your capacity.

Accept low return — for low price.

If the advertising is inexpensive, does it matter too much if it doesn’t do much for you? Of course if you need to massively advertise and your market is specialized/small, you probably won’t find what you are seeking — real business.

Make your advertising an extension of your overall relationship-building process — encourage your current clients to help you to promote/share your message.

Leveraging social media, solid client relationships, association networks, and conventional media, you can extend and enhance your brand/message and do it in a way that doesn’t offend your clients. Of course, you will need to have a solid brand and great client relationships to pull this off. In this context, there is an inverse relationship between your advertising/marketing costs and effectiveness, because you get it right in the overall client experience.

Thoughts to share on this topic? You can post a comment. You can also connect directly with Mark Buckshon.

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