Unicast Chairman Calls for Sites, Agencies to Ensure That On-line Ad Formats Are Consistent With Advertisers` Goals
Long Term Stability Far Outweighs the Transient Benefits of Small Short-Term Revenue Gains
NEW YORK, July 5 -- In a call for the Internet advertising industry to re-think the use of so-called "Pop-Under" ads, Unicast Chairman & CEO Richard V. Hopple today asked the industry to re-think its use of the generally condemned format, saying that the short-term revenue gains generated by their use, will be more than offset by the continuing negative perception of online advertising by Internet users, and undermining advertiser confidence in the Industry.
"Just at a time when the Internet advertising industry is starting to see some very valid and worthwhile experimentation in online ad formats, and just as the medium is becoming more and more cognizant of the fact that the user should be top-of-mind, along comes a format which is causing almost universal outcry from consumers," Hopple noted. "Simply put, it`s just bad advertising.
"After 30 plus years in the traditional and online advertising industry, I have some sense of how advertising needs to work. Intrusiveness, the ability of an ad format to be noticed is the foundation of most advertising.
Typically, the more intrusive the format, the better the chance the advertiser will be able to deliver an effective message. The intrusiveness of television advertising is one of the major reasons that advertisers are willing to pay about $20/M(thousand viewer impressions) when they are only willing to pay $2/M for an outdoor billboard. Consumers accept this. But consumers also know that advertising is paying for the programming and content they want to watch. That`s why the ads play within the programming they are paying for.
"Pop-under ads ignore this fundamental concept. They don`t play in content. As a matter of fact they are designed not to play within the content they are subsidizing. It is the equivalent of watching an entire television program without any advertising and then having to watch the ads -- not only after the program ends, but after you`ve turned the TV set off. As evidenced by the backlash against pop-under ad units, this approach confuses users` willingness to allow ads to pay for content with their right to not have advertising playing in applications like Spreadsheets and Word processing [which the user themselves paid for].
"As a result, the entire model is flawed. Because it is so offensive to users, pop-under ads aren`t good for advertisers, and despite the temptation of short-term revenue, consequently not good for publishers."
"Pop-under online ads are a step away from good advertising. There are some who will say that getting any message to a potential consumer is what counts, regardless of the means, and pop-under exit ads can certainly do just that. However, I believe that effective delivery of an ad message is a combination of the correct ad, at the correct time, to the correct target. Exit ads are often viewed by the consumer as a nuisance, and may actually impart a negative perception to the brand by delivering an irrelevant message at the wrong time," said Mark Amado, Vice President Account Director at FastBridge, a division of Initiative Media. "When viewers make the decision to go offline, their mindset has already moved on to something else, and we should honor that decision by not hitting them with one more potentially out of context message. The Internet is a unique advertising space, it`s personal, let`s not feed any real or imagined frustration with the medium by forgetting that simple fact."
The recently issued Harris Interactive study of television commercials and Unicast`s SUPERSTITIAL ad format is a case in point for the positive perception of properly intrusive online advertising and its effective use for advertisers. Panels of almost 2000 participants viewed television spots and SUPERSTITIAL ads with the same messaging and positioning from Mercury Mountaineer, Nextel and Miller Lite. The report found that the two major advertising vehicles provide equivalent communication and persuasion effectiveness utilizing the same traditional metrics, and that cohesive integrated campaigns including both television and SUPERSTITIAL components will positively impact the metrics in which traditional advertisers are most interested, playing a major part in achieving larger goals, be they branding or response oriented.
Highlights of the Harris Interactive study can be found at http://www.unicast.com .
"Believe me, I am very much in favor of new and effective online ad formats being tested by the industry, that`s why the SUPERSTITIAL has been so successful. Sites and portals tested it and with their input Unicast evolved it to the point where it is a key element in many traditional advertisers` online campaigns," Hopple added. "But this pop-under format doesn`t meet any of the requirements that advertisers look for. These units confuse the issue just at a time when the industry is beginning to make great strides in developing the kinds of standards and stability that mainstream advertisers demand."
Developed by Unicast, The SUPERSTITIAL is a standard format that is sold by over 375 Web sites and ad networks and currently used by over 150 leading traditional advertisers. It allows Web publishers to monetize advertisers` demand for effective online advertising by giving advertisers the flexibility to create integrated, powerful, commercial-quality online advertising. It is supported by Unicast`s proprietary, polite delivery system to ensure that [just like a television commercial] every SUPERSTITIAL plays perfectly for every user regardless of user capabilities or the Web site they are visiting.
Unicast is an online advertising solutions provider, committed to offering the most effective products and services to its site and network partners and its agency and advertiser customers. Working with both advertisers and Web publishers, Unicast understands and acts on the needs of both the buyers and sellers of online advertising. This unique central position in the marketplace allows Unicast to continually deliver smarter solutions to both sides of the advertising equation.