You all know that feeling when you start a YouTube video on your pc and then take a comfortable seat, pop open a can of beer, and enjoy… But then you have to get up 10 seconds later to close the stupid ad that is plastered all over your screen instead of the content you actually want to watch. And depending on the uploader, this can happen more times per video. And yes, I could go and install an ad blocker, but that’s not the problem. The real problem in my mind is that YouTube and advertisers really have a stupid idea that these ads actually work. Newsflash, they don’t! Nobody is going to buy your product because you interrupted their viewing experience with your commercial, nobody will do that!
If you want to do commercials that actually mean something, make it possible for people to choose if they want to see them or not. Not by forcing them to make an effort and install ad blockers or stuff like that, but instead by giving them a choice. Ask them when they enter YouTube if they want to see commercials today or not. Yes, the vast majority will say no, but the ones that say yes will be those that actually want to see that type of content. It is far better to show your ad to 1000 people that are actually interested in it than to have it reach millions that don’t give a crap about it.
And the same applies to any other online entity. Stop forcing your commercials down on people’s throats, if you force them they will be badly received. I actually know a lot of people that have stopped buying products they used to use because they were so annoyed by the constant barrage of ads invading every single aspect of their online experience. That is not the way to sell things, that is not the way to make us notice you. Even a great ad, one that we will enjoy at first, can become very tedious over a long period of time.
Understand that people hate wasting time and being interrupted. I don’t want to waste hours every day watching ads and I hate having to get up every time to close them. This is not television, where we are used to commercial breaks and we use them in order to get another snack or to go to the bathroom. This is online media, we can pause if we want to do something, so we don’t need forced brakes. You have to adapt to the new medium, you have to change, you have to find ways to make us interested in what you have to say.
We have to burst this bubble! Advertising should not work like this and you will never get results if you annoy the users. It is time for companies to look at the data objectively and to see that maybe their online presence who makes them proud is actually only a waste of money. And if YouTube and other publishers want to make a meaningful change for the industry, maybe they should put aside their profits for just a short while and accept that their model is spiraling into failure. Don’t wait for it to blow over, start changing now. You won’t even imagine how much you can achieve if you focus on something else than profits for a little while…