Intrusive Ads May Be OK With Web Users

By: Kipp Cheng

(Adweek IQ) Consumers consider pop-up ads to be about as desirable as TV spots and direct mail, Internet advertising-research firm Dynamic Logic concluded in a new survey it released this week.

The study was meant to explore consumers’ attitudes toward advertising as a necessary means of subsidizing free content on the Web, said Nick Nyhan, president of the New York-based company. The results, which examined consumers’ opinions of pop-up ads relative to other types of ads, are surprising considering people’s generally negative perceptions of them, according to analysts.

“I thought people would like pop-ups the least,” said Molly Hislop, a lead researcher on the study. “But people recognize the trade-off of viewing ads in exchange for free content.”

With pop-up ads receiving a baseline index score of 0, 0.5% of the respondents found TV to be less desirable than the intrusive online ad format. Telemarketing fared the worst, with more than 11% of those surveyed preferring pop-up ads to phone solicitations.

“The caveat here is that it’s not a definitive study of all ad formats,” Nyhan said. “But it serves as a snapshot to relative acceptance.”

The survey was conducted online from Sept. 28-30, with about 500 participants recruited from the firm’s database of more than 300,000 Internet users.

Jim Nail, senior researcher at Forrester Research, said advertising on the Web will become increasingly more intrusive in the coming years, but added that it’s unclear whether consumers will embrace or simply tolerate this development. “A fascinating thing to watch is just how intrusive can you get until you alienate consumers,” Nail said.

However, Robert Anderson, senior vice president and creative director at FCBi, said the term “intrusive” is misleading. “Technology still has a far way to go,” he said. “Whether these ads can balance being disruptive while achieving [an advertiser’s] messaging goal is to be seen.”

The complete report is available online at

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