Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rich Media Ad Formats

You know those on-line ads that popover the web page you just loaded? The ones that are animated and jump all over your screen or follow along as you try to scroll away from them?

They are called animated overlay, or floating, ads. They are sometimes called "takeover" ads and they are among a new breed of "rich media ad formats."

These ads end up on your screen because the web site owner, the content provider, has placed them there. They make money by obliterating the content you are seeking. They literally take away what you want in an attempt to get you to buy something. And they often have nothing to do with why you went to that web site in the first place.

They are the Internet version of public broadcasting pledge drives.


Blogger Aaron Read said...

I think I see your conceptual argument, John...but I think the conclusion is a bit off. To my eyes (or is it ears?) these damn popup ads more closely parallel commercial radio advertising spots rather than public radio fundraising drives. I'll explain:

1. Pop-up ads usually don't cause me to navigate away from the host site in question, I just either wait (or take minor action) for the ad to go away so I can get my desired content. This is more analogous to commercial radio, where I'll sit and wait a few minutes through ads to get to the content I want...as opposed to public radio where long fundraising pitches usually make me tune away from the station entirely until that week is over.

2. To me, the public radio pledge drive is arguably more like a site that requires me to register with it before I can get the content. Even when it says that registration is free, even when I don't have to use a "real" e-mail address, even when it's promised that it's quick and painless process to register...it doesn't matter. I view site registration as a bright line in the sand that makes me decide to seek my content elsewhere (unless I have no other choice). Pledge drives remind me of that...I don't like hearing on-air begging, period. So I'll tune to another NPR outlet, or put in a CD, before I'll listen to ANY amount of begging in an organized pledge drive.

Please note - if your begging is pretty much just 30 second promo bites twice an hour...that's not a pledge drive anymore, that's just advertising and you're back to point #1 above.

Your thoughts?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Aaron Read said...

I should expound a bit on Point #1...I think the spot load on most commercial stations has gotten so out of control; long, obnoxious, insidious...that they're sounding more like pledge-drives-by-default. Locally, it's why I won't listen to WBZ at all; their spot load is SO heavy and the ads are so woven into the fabric of the "regular" content so that there's almost line dividing them anymore. Putting aside the disturbing implications of that on an all-news station, it sounds like they're running ads for 60 minutes every hour. Who needs that?!?

A better example is, again locally, WEEI during the Red Sox games. The breaks between innings are fairly short so the spot load can't get too high. Quick breaks that are worth sitting through to get to the content you want (game coverage). Granted, WEEI goes immediately to 22+ minutes of commercials the moment the game ends; but at least during the games, it's a decent balance.

11:38 AM  
Blogger RadioSutton said...

Your points are well-taken Aaron. I was coming at it from the perspective that you know the content is there, you can see it, but you are being blocked from it.

6:26 AM  

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