Home / News / Interactive Ads Must Walk a Fine Line Between Effectiveness and Annoyance
6 min read

Interactive Ads Must Walk a Fine Line Between Effectiveness and Annoyance

Last Updated March 15, 2024 9:57 AM
Guest Writer
Last Updated March 15, 2024 9:57 AM
By Guest Writer
Verified by Ana Alexandre
Key Takeaways
  • The trend towards interactivity in advertising is impossible to ignore.
  • Still, many consumers view interactive ads as intrusive and annoying.
  • It will be down to advertisers to craft ads that make the most of the interactive element while avoiding driving their audience crazy.

Advertising has come a long way since the days of billboards by the side of the road or text ads in a newspaper. Today, the latest innovation in the industry is interactive ads—the sort that demand something of the consumer beyond passive viewing.

Innovative as these bidirectional ads are, however, they can be just as off-putting as an unwelcome pop-up. This poses an important question: how can advertisers strike the right balance and serve users interactive ads with which they will happily engage?

This is something they cannot afford to get wrong, as numerous statistics indicate interactive ads are far more successful than their static predecessors.

Leveraging this technology without tipping into annoyance is imperative not only for streaming TV ads but those displayed across all digital platforms.

The rise of interactivity in advertising

The trend towards interactivity in advertising is impossible to ignore. And it’s not just online: modern TVs are increasingly becoming interactive mediums, while many laptops and monitors now feature touchscreen capabilities. This technological shift makes screens more adaptable for various use cases.

In some ways, TVs have been interactive longer than we think. The first commercial video game console was released in the early 1970s, enabling users actually to impact what happened on screen.

As consoles became more sophisticated, the extent to which users could influence the screen has increased. Now, gamers can play with others from around the globe in vast asynchronous worlds, verbally communicating with them as they go.

Considering that 65% of Americans play video games  (212 million weekly), a medium that has interacted with TVs for over half a century, it’s somewhat surprising that some advertisers still haven’t yet embraced interactivity in the content they create.

As a digital-native technology, smartphones have been the focus for advertisers serving up interactive content. Mobile game ads, in particular, are at the forefront of this burgeoning revolution, and it’s little wonder: they significantly boost user engagement and campaign performance compared to traditional ads.

Interactive gaming ads served via smartphones often provide a sample experience of the game itself, enabling consumers to play miniature versions and get a taste of what they can expect. These are sometimes known as playable ads.

The approach has been successful beyond gaming, too, with several major brands , including Reebok, BMW, Dominos, and Spotify, deploying interactive ads that engage users via various actions, like clicking to earn rewards, using specific hashtags in livestreams, or downloading a mobile app.

Why interactive ads give more bang for advertisers’ bucks

Ultimately, interactive ads offer a new approach for advertisers across all verticals, providing deeper metrics demonstrating true user engagement.

The first ever TV ads recorded little metrics, eventually evolving into a directional rating system that was arguably not very reliable. When there were fewer channels available and viewership was high, advertisers simply relied on their messaging to win customers.

Then came the internet, and ads tied to actual data points: for the first time, advertisers could glean information such as impressions and clicks.

This led to the development of additional metrics that offered deeper insights into aspects such as targeting and placement. Interactive ads go a step further, revealing insights such as interaction duration, number of actions taken, and engagement depth–proving to advertisers that a user is actually engaging with their content in a meaningful way.

These granular data points provide a comprehensive view of how users respond to and interact with various ads, the decisions they make, and when they lose interest. It’s analogous to websites integrating a heat map showing exactly which parts of a page capture browsers’ attention.

Among other features, interactive ads can incorporate feedback forms, such as surveys or even reaction buttons, which generate even more valuable data for advertisers. Another useful feature is the ability to add social share buttons/counts: naturally, ads stand more chance of going viral if they are creative, entertaining, or offer a unique challenge.

Stats bear out  the appeal of interactive ads. Not only do they increase ad memorability by 32%, but they are viewed as more fun (+91%), engaging (+70%), stimulating (+66%), and creative (+52%) than their static counterparts. Moreover, they boast superior conversion rates by a factor of three for conventional video ads and seven for playable ads.

Mastering interactive ads remains a challenge

Despite these benefits, many consumers still view interactive ads as intrusive and annoying, disrupting their online experience with substandard design and lousy UX. Poor targeting and lack of relevancy remain a problem some advertisers struggle to overcome.

“Those ‘interactive’ commercials on Hulu where you have to choose your ‘commercial experience’ are so annoying. Just play the commercial. And why are they so loud?!,” writes  one disgruntled user of the video streaming service. 72% of consumers say  bad advertising experiences have negatively affected their perception of a brand. At the end of the day, bad advertising is bad advertising.

Compared to their predecessors, the complexity of interactive ads can also be off-putting for many. Of course, the counterargument is that advertisers who can create intuitive, rewarding, and format-appropriate interactive ads will stand out from the crowd.

The trend towards interactivity in advertising will keep accelerating. As technology evolves and more devices support interactive content, it will be down to advertisers to craft ads that make the most of the interactive element while avoiding driving their audience crazy.

The key lies in creating ads that are intuitive, offer clear rewards, and are designed with the user’s preferences in mind. Get it right, and advertisers can create highly effective and engaging campaigns that keep their audience on-site.

About the author: Chris Schave  is the Chief Revenue Officer of Azarus, a Web3 streaming platform. Chris embarked on a career that spanned management consulting and SaaS tech sales, with his skills and expertise leading him to a role overseeing global partnerships with prominent companies, such as Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, and Coca-Cola. Chris joined Azarus in 2022 to lead ad sales and business development. He collaborates with advertisers and publishers, guiding them in the pursuit of innovative revenue models that revolve around the core principles of interactivity and rewards-based experiences.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to CCN, its management, employees, or affiliates. This content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No