Here’s another tip (via RootsCamp 2012) from our digital marketing friends at Obama 2012: when you’re doing persuasion ads, don’t use a format people can skip over…because they will.
For instance, plenty of video ads get served on interstitial pages on content websites. You know, that page that interrupts you when you’re trying to go to a Washington Post article, the one that says you’ll be redirected to the page you’re trying to reach in X seconds. Many of those pop-up pages include a “go directly to page” or “skip ad” link, which is what the Obama folks were talking about: if you offer people a chance to skip your persuasion content, many of them will.
Instead, you want your persuasion ads, which you’re typically using to reach people who aren’t already on your list, to be unavoidable. You WANT people to be forced to watch them. So, pick video channels (Hulu?) that don’t allow users to skip content. Or, try television — absent a Tivo or other DVR, the poor bastard on the receiving end can’t escape your ad without hitting mute and nodding off to sleep. In fact, the unskippable nature of TV ads goes a long way toward explaining why the boob tube remains campaigns’ main way to reach the uncommitted.
BTW, when you ARE trying to reach your existing supporters with ads, for instance to solicit donations or for GOTV, you’ll typically WANT to use a skippable format. Otherwise, you risk annoying the hell out of folks who are already on your team.
See also our previous Obama marketing tip, in which we note that for acquisition advertising, sometimes less (targeting) is more.