Kinder words for
banners and pop-ups
Increasing consumer acceptance of ad formats
By Marty Beard
Pop-up ads are famously annoying. Banners have been scorned almost from the day they were invented, back when the internet was a wee pup of a technology.
But, amazing as this may sound, people are growing less hostile to both ad formats.
Both are increasingly accepted as the price one pays to surf, on a par with TV ads and direct mail.
So concludes a recent study from Dynamic Logic, an internet research outfit.
"Most people will not tell you that they want more advertising in their lives," says Dynamic Logic CEO Nick Nyhan.
"However, consumers are showing a willingness to accept a certain amount of disruptive advertising in order to keep the sites that they like free."
Dynamic Logic found that 53 percent of consumers surveyed reported having a positive attitude toward banner ads.
While Nyhan doesn't offer any data for prior periods, he says this is a substantial improvement over consumer attitudes when banners first appeared six years ago.
"The much-maligned banner now seems pretty good in comparison," Nyhan says.
Certainly part of that is because people have gotten used to them, but also a factor is the rise of other, more intrusive, formats such as the pop-up.
"Advertisers are finding that banners arenít generating a big enough response and so theyíre looking to the bigger formats."
Some of those formats are gaining acceptance.
Thirty-five percent of consumers say they feel positive about the vertical rectangle skyscraper ad format, and 17 percent feel positive about the so-called long rectangle.
Approval rates are far lower for the pop-up, at 6 percent, but even they are gaining some acceptance.
Eighty-five percent of consumers agreed with the statement, "Advertising is necessary to support the web sites I like to visit and keep them free, even if the ads distract me from what I am doing."
And 72 percent of respondents say that some pop-up ads are appropriate, but in limited numbers.
While 28 percent donít want to see any pop-ups at all, 26 percent say they think that two to three an hour is appropriate, and 21 percent say that four to six an hour is appropriate. Seven percent say that they feel that seven or more an hour is appropriate.
There is in fact a format that is less accepted than the pop-up, and that is the full-page interstitial, which only 3 percent approve of.
The survey found that consumers prefer outdoor, radio, magazine and newspaper ads to online pop-up ads by 3 to 5 percent.
Yet among all forms of advertising, pop-ups arenít even consumersí least favorite. That honor goes to telemarketing.
Consumers feel that pop-ups are 10 percent more desirable than receiving unwanted marketing calls from bored strangers who mispronounce their names.
All this is not to say that people actively want to be bombarded with pop-ups.
"Consumers are not saying there should be more advertising," Nyhan says. "But there should be better online advertising.
"Internet advertising is getting exciting again, even though itís a down market. In some ways, the pressure the industry now faces has forced some new ideas to come out and those are interesting."
November 20, 2001 © 2001 Media Life
-Marty Beard is a staff writer for Media Life.