10 Nov 2020
Hong Kong YouTuber Brian Cha received a ton of negative criticism for telling users to quit YouTube if they didn’t like being bombarded by his ads.
While his response to haters was certainly entertaining, the core question posed by users still stands: why do brands overwhelm us with so many ads?
The Annoyance Factor
The answer is simple really. It’s because they’re using what is known in advertising circles as the ‘annoyance factor’ to drive brand recall in a quick and highly effective manner.
In it’s purest form, the annoyance factor is found in a catchy jingle that loops so that consumers can’t get the song out of their head.
Notable examples include Christmas songs chimed into shopping malls, “I’m a ToysRus kid” and more recently “YUU” heard at a Wellcome store near you!
However, online users can now mute ads in their entirety, so other formats such as looping banner ads, repetitive messaging, and frequent ad breaks inserted into videos have been devised to condition consumers into seeing these common annoyances as a regular part of internet browsing.
For better or worse, the most annoying ads are rarely ignored! So it’s no wonder that the most persistent ads are able to over-perform and carve out a decent chunk of revenue and conversation (albeit sometimes negative) for brands—and where there’s conversation there’s profit, so you can bet more ad dollars to be invested in that direction!
This is because conversions from the ad objective simply need to deliver awareness, traffic or whatever the KPI may be regardless of whether it annoys people in the process!
However, annoying people does have its limits (think spam emails) and brands need to know where to draw the line. So whether annoying the user is a recommended tactic or not depends on the key deliverable; after all, a high-performing metric (i.e. clicks, buzz, reach) is not always a key margin of success as Gary Vee explains:
Here at Meology, we don’t just judge whether an ad is annoying or not, we judge whether it meets its specific objective (i.e. sales, sign-ups, footfall).
After all, it’s one thing for an ad to show up so frequently that it becomes memorable, but it’s another to appear so often that people learn to ignore your ad by becoming ‘banner blind’ towards it!