Drawing a line between intrusive and relevant digital content

It is time for marketers to stop upsetting consumers with overly intrusive online ads, says Tan Rahman, head of digital at OMD Hong Kong.

Speaking at a special digital seminar hosted by InSkin Media, Rahman said that with digital budgets on a “significant” rise it was time for online advertisers to find more inventive ways to impress consumers.

The digital ad market has seen significant growth over the past three years. Digital budgets on average have gone up 15% to 20% this year from 10% in 2011.

But one big question advertisers should ask is how to evolve from the interruptive nature of CPM-driven online advertising that marketers and consumers have become accustomed to.

“Investment in digital content is huge, but users experience hasn’t changed much,” Rahman said.

In Hong Kong, the advertising environment is still dominated by massive home page takeovers, crazy ads and pop-out interactive banners, with content in a barely visible second place, he said.

“We are in the position where we work with limited, uninventive old ad formats that are absolutely upsetting users.

“The need for change on traditional formats is urgent as the way people consume content is utterly different.”

One main challenge marketers are facing is a lack of consistency.

“They need to co-ordinate content that builds across different [operating systems] and screens and to tie them into a network that makes sense.”

Among all the digital platforms, he said mobile remained as the greatest method of engagement because it fosters inventive ad formats that help enhance relevant digital content.

“While intrusive online ads are all about catching consumers at the right time, the key is to make them relevant.”

For example, some new ad formats on mobile such as mobile filmstrip, mobile full page flex, mobile slider and mobile pull are creative and relevant to engage users without annoying them.

“Media people have the responsibility to add true value in the industry.

“Indeed, what we have to be looking at is whether or not we can take that relevance and make it work across all platforms.”