by Jeanine Vecchiarelli return to JayVee Media Link LLC
“Should companies pursue video ads that auto launch when a website loads?” That is the question I recently posted in a LinkedIn group. I asked because I have noticed recently a new trend that appears to be proliferating across a large number of websites. I visit a site and begin to read what interests me when a marketing pitch suddenly launches. Frustrated by the intrusion, I stop what I am doing and scroll down the length of the page to find and silence the offending ad. I don’t even know what is being pitched. All I know is the message intruded on my time and patience for having to seek it out.
Believe it or not, there are audio/visual strategies employed today that are even worse! Sometimes we need to hunt for multiple ads that are scattered across a page, placed in hard to notice spots. These offenders may auto launch consecutively; often, they launch simultaneously. When they do that each message talks over the other, with the result being nothing but unintelligible noise. Then there are the video ads that DON’T stop playing when we locate and pause them. Or they pause for a short period of time, then relaunch so we have to scroll back and shut them up AGAIN. Finally, some sites auto launch audio feeds that are altogether impossible to locate. Hence, we are held hostage to the marketer’s messages.
Aside from obvious annoyance, my feeling regarding these tactics is, how bad must the product/service be if a merchant has to resort to such underhanded tactics to force me to listen to his/her message? I fully support and endorse the use of audio and video advertising channels, as they are among our most effective marketing tools. But they need to be used considerately. Intelligent placement and smartly crafted calls to action can entice a page visitor to launch an ad message. There is a much better chance that, if so enticed, the visitor will be more interested in hearing about the product/service. Where is the sense, then, in risking annoying and even alienating a prospective customer by forcing a message on him/her?
I must admit I expected to be chastised by any of my fellow social media marketers who would comment on my frustrated rant. Surprisingly, just the opposite unfolded. Every single comment echoed my chagrin regarding this strategy. While everyone felt intruded upon, some responders bemoaned additional issues, such as slow internet speeds being locked up while these ads load, or having them blare out while in a quiet office setting. Overall, a very few who weighed in thought the practice might be a necessary evil these days. But the vast majority agreed with my view: a message that resonates should not need to hold site visitors hostage in order to be heard. Placing a video ad considerately and using a creative call to action to entice visitors to click the play button are much better strategies than forcing an unsolicited message on those visitors via an auto launch feature.
What is YOUR feeling regarding using or hosting audio and/or video ads that auto launch? Do you think the practice may appeal to site visitors? Do you mind them when you are visiting websites? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.