On Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that Google will soon be “punishing” sites that display interstitial ads and pop-ups on mobile sites. In a quasi-related story, (you’ll see how in just a minute), Donald Trump’s campaign manager announced that she feels many Trump supporters are afraid to admit they’re supporting the Republican nominee when the pollsters come calling.
The Mob Sharpens Its Pitchforks
Clearly, there’s more going on here than meets the eye in both these stories. After the former story broke, the web lit up with admonishments from both professional and armchair marketers decrying the policy of mobile sites displaying interstitial ads in the first place.
“Terrible tactic!” “Those sites deserve to be punished!” These are just a couple of examples of the hyperbolic statements I came across when surfing the web to gauge the reaction to this announcement from Google.
Guilty as Charged
So what’s this got to do with people too embarrassed to admit they’re voting for Trump? Well, the connection is this. Social Media Explorer uses interstitial content on our mobile site (insert collective “GASP!” from our readers here).
Yes, it’s true. When you visit the mobile version of socialmediaexp.wpengine.com you get a splash page offering you to join our new marketing community on Slack. And though, according to the marketing pundits, we should be ashamed to admit this (there’s the Trumpian analogy!) in actual fact we are not. And here’s why.
After having recently tweaked this interstitial content on our desktop-based website to include a signup to our Slack community, we saw signups triple that of our normal conversion rate. We expect a proportionate increase in signups on our mobile site as well. With the success we’ve seen, we’re reluctant to give up on this effective form of end-user engagement with our brand. And we suspect you may be reluctant to give up your interstitials too.
What’s the Solution?
So, what’s a self-respecting marketing blog (published by a renegade-thinking marketing agency) to do? Well, we researched potential solutions to this impending threat by Google (the threat being the possibility of diminished search visibility and ranking in its algorithm — admittedly a “meh” to some and “death from above” to others). Unfortunately, it appears nobody is offering any solutions, workarounds, or alternatives. And for the time being, neither are we.
But just like the so-called surreptitious Trump voter, we suspect there are more folks out there who are in the same boat as us. Like us, you’ve probably got a good thing going in your interstitial marketing — and even if others frown upon it, you might want to let it ride — at least until you can find a viable alternative.
So, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep our eye on this situation (Google promises not to start the lashings in earnest until January 2017). When we have some solid recommendations for how and what to deploy on mobile sites to garner email signups, special offers, downloads, or the the like, we’ll bring our recommendations to you via this blog. (If you have any solutions, you can bring them to us and we’ll give you full credit in a future blog post).
In the meantime, you needn’t be ashamed of employing marketing tactics that some others may look down upon. As a professional marketer or a leveraged entrepreneur, your first responsibility is to deliver positive ROI to your client or to your organization. We’re not saying that every marketing tactic is necessarily the best tactic. But you certainly don’t need to beat yourself up if you’ve got something in place that works — and provides value to you and the constituencies you serve.
Now, while you’re waiting for an update from us, why don’t you check out some of the other stories making waves in our News & Noise category, or hit the refresh button for this page and signup to join our new Slack for Marketers Group.