Effective Interruption Marketing Strategies

Interruption marketing is the practice of inserting ads or promotions that disrupt a person’s activity.

For televised events, such as a football game, the shows are typically designed to attract a specific audience demographic. Football games tend to attract a male audience and daytime soap operas tend to attract stay-at-home women. Advertisers who want to promote their business select a show that matches their audience’s demographics and periodically force the viewer to stop watching the programming and watch some commercials. Beer and lawn equipment ads during a football game and diapers and laundry detergent during soap operas come to mind.

The practice of interruption marketing often annoys the viewer and has given rise to various coping methods used to combat this practice. However, not all interruption marketing is viewed with the same level of disdain. Allow me to explain.

When you target your niche very precisely and focus on activities your audience may actively participate in, you can engage in interruption marketing with little risk of turning your audience off, provided your ads target your viewer’s interests. For example, let’s compare two sports-related programs, football, and bowhunting.

Poor Interruption Marketing Targeting Example

Most people who watch a football game do not actually participate in the sport and are not watching the game to learn how to become a better football player.

Good Interruption Marketing Targeting Example

Whereas people that watch programming about bowhunting are much more likely to actively participate in the sport and are watching to perhaps pick up a tip or two along the way or validate a strategy they employ.

While both football and bowhunting TV shows allow the viewer to watch skilled practitioners engaged in the sport, the motives of the audience are quite different.

As a bowhunter, I will record episodes of shows such as Bow Hunter TV on my DVR. When I finally get around to watching the show, I frequently watch the commercials as well as the program. Why? Because I’m in the bowhunting mindset as a practitioner of the sport and looking to learn so I’m interested in the ads that are related to the sport. I’m willing to watch a promotion for a new broad-head design, or how using an Ozonics unit might render me scentless and improve my success rate, because the ads target my interests.

In contrast, I also love to watch football. However, when it comes to watching football, a sport I do not participate in, I will record the game on my DVR and wait an hour to begin watching so I can skip over the ads. While beer and pizza ads might appeal to the football-watching demographic and might stir an impulse buy, because of my mindset, I view the ads quite differently and as something to be avoided vs. consumed.

So, when your content is designed to be informative in nature rather than purely entertaining, interruption marketing that targets the audience interests are far more likely to hit their mark and get watched.

However, this relationship with the audience can be squandered if this principle is too frequently ignored. So, by throwing in one too many unrelated LifeLock type ads into a bowhunting episode, the trust developed with the audience can quickly erode and cause a viewer like me to skip over all the ads.

In short, as long as what you are trying to educate or convey to the user/viewer is related to the reason the customer is on your site, and the ads are highly focused on their interests, interruption marketing may be a welcome addition. When you are just trying to bait them with content and then try to sell them interruption marketing will be viewed negatively.

I like to think of interruption marketing as I would a hyperlink in a blog post. If the link provides value to the narrative, such as a tool that supports the post’s message, then the reader will welcome the opportunity to explore the content and not see it as an interruption. However, if the link is unrelated to the narrative, such as an add for hearing aids in the middle of an article on business, it is a distraction that will be avoided.

If you have a blog post about sales strategy and interlace a promotion for a book on sales tactics, your audience might actually appreciate the reference and follow the link. However, throw in an ad for Xfinity and all ads may be viewed as spam.

Are your ads aligned with your audience’s mindset and their interests?