We begin this blog with an irony alert. A search for synonyms for intrusive brought me to thesaurus.com; there, waiting for me, were two ads that couldn’t have been more perfectly picked for me. One was for a nearby pet center offering cool canine treats – exactly the type of perk our furry office mates prefer. The second was from an athletic wear company I’d recently ordered from – reminding me that with running season starting seriously again soon, there are clearly accessories I need to own right now.
The whole experience of being marketed to in this way felt extremely intrusive. While both topics are of interest to me, I wasn’t thinking about the dogs or running right that moment. That wasn’t where I’d chosen to focus my attention. Instead, I was focused on the fact that Forbes identified customer resentment of intrusive marketing as a top digital marketing trend for 2017. Along with the retargeted style ads I’d encountered on my synonym search, interstitial or pop-up ads and sponsored social media posts are considered intrusive. Millennials and Gen Z’ers are said to be especially impatient with commercial messaging, but even those people born before 1982 have been known to get ticked off by messaging that’s just too pushy.
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But No One’s Paying Attention To Me!!!
Business owners are in a bind. Consumers resent intrusive marketing…but they also respond to it. Retargeted ads do result in higher sales, to a point. As the lines between social and search blur, having a viable brand presence on social media matters – and no matter what platform you’re on, they’re not giving away reach. Pop up and hover ads have proven to result in higher signup rates for special offers and mailing lists. If we know a tool works, aren’t we obligated to use it to build our business?
The answer is a qualified maybe. The majority of business owners already worry about being too pushy and intrusive. The fear that a customer may be turned off by an ad needs to be realistically weighed against the potential increase in business that results from the buyers who are intrigued rather than irritated. That being said, it’s important to remember that ads are less likely to be viewed as intrusive when the customer finds them relevant, timely, and interesting. Being strategic about what types of advertising tools are used and when is now part of every business owners’ to do list.
Expect to see platforms roll out tools to make targeting advertising more relevant, with the hopes of reducing claims of intrusiveness, in the months to come. As the tools become available, we will all need to learn how to use them effectiveness. In the meantime, there are limits to how much control a business has over when and where ads will appear. It’s important make sure the content you’re putting out there is content your customers actually care about: don’t clamor for attention and deliver nothing in return.