Urgh, adverts...don't you just hate them? Well it turns out that almost everyone hates adverts because they're interruptive, obnoxious, intrusive and everywhere. We refer to the intrusive, interruptive ads as 'outbound' because they are just that - outwardly facing, pushy, uninvited messages.
Since the State of Inbound 2016 report is now available, we're going to look at the state of online advertising today, how it's affecting consumers and what they're doing to combat it. Oh, and settle the debate about which ad type people hate more...
The current advertising landscape
The simple fact is that we all rely on money to survive. To make that money we either work for someone else or for ourselves. Either way, as an employee or a business owner, at some point the business in question needs to turn a profit or no one gets paid.
But how is that going to happen without some sort of marketing or advertising and a sales process? How else are the products and services on offer going to reach the intended audience and drive sales?
That's all fine, of course, but the devil is in the details and in this case the details are in the specifics of how you choose to put your message out there.
Many companies still choose to push out ads across different channels (Facebook Ads, YouTube video ads, pop-up ads on their website, etc.), but these tend to stray into the more outbound types - pushy, intrusive, just plain annoying.
Yet, strangely, across the board, outbound marketing is considered the most overrated marketing tactic, as well as being the least effective. People are becoming less responsive to these types of ads, as well as more clever at avoiding them completely, thanks to the rise of popular ad-blockers available for most modern browsers.
Adblock Plus, for instance, has enjoyed 500 million downloads globally.
As far as outbound advertising, here are some key figures from the State of Inbound 2016 Report:
- Only 40% of people clicked on an advertisement because it was actually interesting to them -- that’s nearly equal to the 34% of people who only clicked as a mistake;
- 91% of respondents said that ads are more intrusive today compared to two years ago;
- 63% of people said that pop-up advertisements created a negative experience
The most hated advertising types you should avoid using
The original question posed by this article was 'which ad type do people hate more?'.
Well, HubSpot's latest State of Inbound Report has a great breakdown of ad types and how unpopular they are.
When asked 'How do you feel about the following types of ads?', the percentages who responded 'I dislike them' were:
- 73% - Online pop-ups
- 70% - Ads on my mobile phone
- 57% - Pre-video ads (like on YouTube)
- 43% - Online banner ads
- 40% - Ads on Facebook
- 36% - TV ads
So, the clear winner (if we can call it that) is online pop-up ads. These are the sorts that appear as if from nowhere when you're browsing a website. They're interruptive and annoying and personally I feel like I'm swatting a digital fly away when they pop up.
A growing trend with these style of ads is to take the pop-up a step further. Usually a small, modal, window in the middle of the screen, a new technique is to fill the entire screen with the pop-up content. This can cause confusion and frustration as visitors struggle to find the 'x' to close them down.
What's most troubling about these sorts of adverts is that 70% of consumers have a lower opinion of brands that use them...not great when you're trying to achieve the exact opposite.
Closely following on the heels of online pop-ups is pre-video ads, the type you'll find on YouTube where you have to watch at least the start of one before being able to skip on to your chosen content. 48% of respondents said that these sorts of ads created a negative experience.
A final thought on this is that over 80% of people in the surveys responded that they have closed web pages because of either a pop-up ad or auto-playing video ad.
How to delight your prospects and avoid negative advertising
Many marketers and sales people are moving their focus towards social selling. By leveraging the ever-growing user base across social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter to prospect and generate new leads, businesses will be able to reach new buyers on platforms their customers prefer.
From the HubSpot State of Inbound 2016 report, talking about the future of sales:
"A full 42% of buyers in our survey said they communicate via social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter for business purposes, and sales teams growing more than 50% were more likely than any other group to identify LinkedIn as a valuable sales connection channel. It’s clear that buyers are engaging with salespeople on social media. Make sure your company is part of the conversation."
Another interesting fact thrown up from the report is that when looking for information on business purchases, it might come as no surprise that consumers trust word of mouth and customer references above all others. After these, vendor authored articles and materials are where they look next.
What's clear is that you should spend time delighting your current customers and not shying away from coaxing them to recommend you as someone worth working with. That, and keep your business generating helpful resources from articles to white papers, industry insights to free guides and downloadable materials.
And when it comes to communication, 55% of people prefer email over any other communication form, which feeds into the less interruptive approach as email is by nature a passive communication form.
The key is context
Whatever advertising method you choose, the key metric in all this is that people prefer less interruptive ads that are more aligned to their needs - i.e. in context.
In fact, 83% of people asked agreed that not all ads are bad, but they'd like to be able to filter out the obnoxious ones.
By keeping your advertising specific to your buyer persona's needs and promoting those adverts on channels your buyers frequent, and in ways they prefer to receive content and adverts, you'll hit more the right people at the right time and with less fall out from disgruntled ad viewers.
Be smart, be more Inbound
Yes. people hate pop-up adverts more than any other form, but in general more and more people are becoming frustrated and turned-off to all forms of advertising.
So the takeaway message as far as advertising is concerned is to align your marketing and advertising strategies with the inbound marketing approach as much as possible.
Keep it relevant. Keep it helpful. Keep it Inbound!