Integrated Versus Interruptive Advertising

When I was first starting in Internet marketing, one of the first books I read was Permissive Marketing by Seth Godin. The point of this book was that customers who give you permission to market to them are more valuable than those you have to interrupt, and you shouldn’t abuse that trust. One of the second lessons came from adsense, which showed how ads that were integrated into the copy always performed better than those placed outside of the copy.

While this is something I integrate into my projects, there are a lot of media companies that don’t. For example, here is a screen shot of the New York Times on the iPad. Notice the banner placed in the bottom of the page outside of the text.

What happens with the app: during your second story, an interstitial ad appears (which was never clicked on), getting in the way of reading the desired story. This, I’m sure, results in a low engagement. Last week, they made a change. Although the banner is still at the bottom and you still get the interstitial, they added a new format embedded in the text … And, even though I wasn’t the target market, I clicked the ad …

Interestingly, the ad directs you to an in app landing page with options…

…followed by a browser landing page where you could make a purchase.

So what is the takeaway from this?

  • Use a service like Crazyegg (disclosure: they are an advertiser) or Google multi variant testing to experiment with ad placement.
  • Try placements inside of the content at the top, middle, or bottom.
  • Stay away from advertising that interrupts or blocks users from getting to the content they really want.
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