Desperately aggressive marketing tactics: Have you noticed media sources Yahoo, CNN, and YouTube lately?
We all love browsing content right? Videos, news articles, social media, political commentary, even new memes. We grab our cups of coffee and chase rabbits (web content) down holes until we find ourselves far from home. Notice anything different lately with digital advertising standards? Have your personal unintentional click rates gone up along with your content consumption? I have noticed massive, trending and annoying aggressive tactics from nearly every online content delivery service i’m aware of. We all misclick (a mistake…?) and advertisers price-it-in, having a predicable metric for it but I have been feeling especially bombarded lately. Maybe you have noticed a similar theme and have that disturbing and violating feeling that you have been digitally tricked into clicking on ads you would never, ever engage with. It’s like eating digital PEZ. Gross.
Regardless of your digital environment (mobile, social, desktop, print content, video streaming) we are often introduced to the growing ‘top 10′ type article and content and advertisement delivery methods. You know them well i’m sure – junk content e.g “Top 10 Star Wars Light Saber clips” or “8 ways new moms can lose love handles faster”, etc. They are quickly becoming the go-to for performance marketing. Who can blame them? CTR is usually high as they translate user results to ROI better than most content delivery formats. In reality, you have probably plowed through a top 10 and clicked an average of 20 times to get to the #1. Its exhausting really. Like me, after learning ‘How to cure Ebola with 6 common household items’ – maybe you then proceeded to engage similar top 10 content but found you simply could not endure the ad bombardment without the feeling you needed a shower and a warm cookie. Well, you are not alone. Check out the popups on big news sites like CNN. These tactics are pushing UX to intrusive levels. The homepage will often drop down on you unexpectedly, often causing misclicks. Yahoo now features videos which autoplay when you arrive on the sports section which you must attempt to close…often contributing to misclicks. More egregious is how Yahoo News formats sponsored ads to look like actual news stories to the effect of creating user distrust and confusion. Sadly, even our beloved YouTube has joined the party. What may have been the last bastion of independent social content hope, YouTube is now inserting (or allowing) 3 full-short interstitial commercial breaks (Spanish cerveza commercials here in LA…) during a 20 minute video compilation of one of my favorite comics, PG-rated Jim Gaffigan. With PPV premiums skyrocketing on google ads, Yes – it’s getting more overwhelming and aggressive out there for advertisers as valuable user experience in being degraded for ROI purposes. The aggression smells of digital desperation for revenue on the part of the content source and seems much less about ad optimization as an overall strategy. The writing is on the wall. I theorize online competition is growing and engagement (revenue) is falling. It’s a solution. Action and reaction. That seems simple enough, right?
Like professional Japanese baseball jerseys, MORE real-estate can be used and MORE online content can be monetized with MORE aggressive tactics. Well, I guess this is our new online reality…hell, it’s not like we pay for The New York Times to show up on our front porch anymore. Am I wrong? Maybe Big News, online content generators and online content delivery services deserve a little more revenue to play with – at the expense of content consumption style, dignity and discretion. Maybe user experience is becoming less of a long-term goal of the bigger players in the game – in our uber-social, post-privacy, brave new digital age. We shall see if this new echelon of marketing aggression pays off for these online properties and their advertising partners…my guess is there is no turning back. The bar is being set and the trend is being followed. Its still leaves me asking why. That is my favorite question for all things performance marketing. I have found in my 10 years in performance marketing optimization efforts ‘Why’ almost always leads to that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’m just not sure selling out UX is the best tactic for any brand which wants to stay relevant…the competition is deep.