We interrupt your everything to bring you these messages.

A recent study on the effectiveness of different types of digital advertising and it’s impact on brand recognition has shown that bigger, more interactive online advertisement methods are much more liked and likely to be shared than traditional banner advertisements. That doesn’t say much though, since I don’t think there’s anything more ineffective than traditional banner ads. Nevertheless, the study has some interesting data on different types of online ad space.


A Full-screen takeover ad. (Click for full size)

The study finds that over two and a half times more people can recall which brand was advertised when the so-called “Full-screen takeovers” were used in comparison to standard banner ads. Naturally, when your browsing experience is interrupted it is easier to remember the culprit, but what’s surprising is that people also found these types of ads
likeable. I have always found big, intrusive ads annoying, no matter how much interaction they offer and I’m sure many others share that view. What causes people to enjoy getting interrupted? Thankfully the study has answered that question as well. 
It was found that  the respondents valued interaction, entertainment and educational aspects of the full-screen takeover ads. So it’s just a case of the good outweighing the bad.

While I don’t doubt the possibility and the potential of an engaging takeover ad, interrupting the user’s experience is a risky proposition, especially since the study mentioned the increased ability to recall the brand in the ad. If the contents of the ad are not enjoyable for the viewer, a takeover ad can do more harm to the viewer’s perception of your brand than good. This is especially dangerous on the Internet, where your viewer could be anyone, anywhere. If you don’t know exactly who will be seeing your ad (and you won’t) you have no guarantee about the increased likeability shown in the study. That is why I think takeover ads should be used on highly specialized websites, whose reader base resonates extremely well with your ad’s target audience.

The study also mentioned other types of display ads, like having a skin on the website and just using slightly bigger displays with more potential for interaction. These ads are much more inconspicuous than the so well-liked full-screen takeover, but they were less liked and less effective than the takeover ads.

A site skin. (Click for full size)

Much as I complain, I still believe that interactive, entertaining and educational advertising online is leaps and bounds better than the current standard of buying banner space haphazardly wherever you can. But just because a study shows increased likeability and brand recognition with intrusive ads, you shouldn’t just copy and paste full-screen takeovers in place of your banner ads and expect a 2,5x multiplier on your brand value. I expect there to be at least some companies that will see this result and just buy takeovers everywhere they can afford. And then the site’s visitors install AdBlock. But hey, at least you don’t need to pay for blocked ads.


A Model for Delivering Branding Value Through High-Impact Digital Advertising


Delivering branding value through high-impact digital advertising


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One Response to We interrupt your everything to bring you these messages.

  1. kallemuuramo says:

    I never really understood the use of these annoying ads but after reading your blog post I understand other aspects as well. It does not mean I find them good or not. It is interesting to hear that companies take risks which may harm the brand itself. Perhaps positive effects outdo negative ones. Very informative!

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