Meebo's Non-Interruptive Ads

by phil on Saturday Mar 7, 2009 7:31 PM

I wonder if Meebo has higher-than-average ad-watching rates. Meebo has made me watch more trailers and music videos than MySpace or Facebook has, and I've spent 50x more time on those services.

(Meebo is a web-based chat client that allows you to log on simultaneously to Google Chat, AIM, MSN, and other services.)

I have a theory for why. I believe it's because their ad-delivery mechanism lets me continue using the site while watching. Most ad delivery is interruption-oriented. They all demand that you stop what you're doing and focus on this ad.

That means an ad has to be more compelling than what you were intending to do in the first place. For popular sites like MySpace, this could be a Catch-22. The more popular and desirable they become, the less likely the users are going to peel themselves away from what they're doing to look at an ad.

For example, advertising on MySpace's front page seems like it would be a great way to drive traffic. But what user is going to think, "hmm, no, I don't want to login to MySpace this time. Instead I want to learn more about Ice Cube."? At best, maybe, the user will shift-click on the ad and watch it later after they've logged in and done their business.

Meebo's ad system allows you to keep doing what you're doing. They take advantage of two things

  • The avg. Internet user is used to multi-tasking, why not cater to that?
  • There are lulls in the usage of the service, so why not feed the user some distractions?

Some sites have video ads that are movie trailers on pause. However, playing them still stops you in your tracks. You can't scroll down to read the rest of the site. Or if you click on the site's links, you'll have to stop the trailer anyway. I wonder if we'll see more sites put a floating frame at the bottom with a slide-out tray for ads. I would prefer that to the NASCAR-ization of the web, with banners and stickers all over the place. Ads shouldn't compete with what I'm currently doing.

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