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Who Comes First – Your Customers or Your Advertisers?

Posted By Holly Buchanan On February 23, 2007 @ 10:37 am In Advertising,Branding and Advertising Rants,Customer Experience,Relationship Building | 3 Comments


The whip snaps starkly, missing your ear by centimeters, setting the hair on your neck to full attention.

“Create a positive customer experience!” commands your task master. “You must ensure our site visitors can meet their goals and have a positive interaction with our company!”

You mumble something to the effect of, “Yes, oh great one,” and hunker down to create a seamless experience to make customers happy. You’re putting the finishing touches on a carefully planned scenario when…


Neck hairs once again do a full salute. It’s your second task master.

“Create something engaging for our advertisers! They want something edgy, creative and, for God’s sake, interactive! You know, that Web 2.0 stuff. I need eyeballs and click-throughs–and I need it by Thursday!”

You mumble something to the effect of, “Yes, Master of the Universe,” and ask yourself again why you didn’t take that job as the chum thrower on a Florida fishing boat.

Have you ever found yourself in this position?

Who takes priority? The customer or the advertiser?

Here’s a case in point. A co-worker sent me a file through YouSendIt [1]. I went to the site and was all set to download my file. And then I saw this:

yousend_02.jpg [2] Now, I was in a rush, and simply clicked on the strongest, clearest Call to Action in the active window: the big blue “Download” button. But, to my surprise, instead of downloading the file, my computer was attempting to install some sort of software. I was most disturbed. What was YouSendIt trying to do to me? Why did I have to download software just to open a file?

I retraced my steps only to find that it was not the YouSendIt download button I had clicked, but the advertiser’s download button.

In fairness, if I had taken more time, and really looked at the screen, I would have clicked the correct button. But I am quite sure I am not the only person who was in a rush–and doesn’t see that well to begin with–and clicked the wrong button. I bet the advertiser probably got a high number of clicks on their Call to Action, but I bet they saw an even higher drop-off at the first stage of the download process as people realized their mistake.

Was that a win for the advertiser? Maybe. Even if people didn’t actually download the software, the advertiser probably felt they got a lot of “brand awareness” and “interaction” with their ad. Was it truly a success for them? I don’t know.

But here’s what concerns me. I was unhappy with YouSendIt, not the advertiser. This was NOT a positive customer experience. I felt stupid. I don’t like feeling stupid. Call me stupid to my face and I will kick your a**. Why did they have to place that ad smack dab in the middle of what I was trying to do AND have the same Call to Action verbiage in the ad (“Download”) be the exact action I was trying to take?

Okay, so the service is free for “customers” like me but, still, what is this doing for YouSendIt or their advertisers? I suppose resentment is a valid form of attention, but it seems a bit odd that SmartShopper chose to begin our relationship by making me feel dumb. But, hey, at least now SmartShopper knows why they had the better Call to Action [3].

Was the money YouSendIt got from that ad buy worth running a de facto A/B test of their “Download” button on the same page as an advertiser’s? Does that make for good long-term strategy or customers thinking you’re desperate for either cash or attention? Would you have designed the page that way? Who gets priority on your website, customers or advertisers?

Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com

URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/02/23/who-comes-first-your-customers-or-your-advertisers/

URLs in this post:

[1] YouSendIt: http://www.yousendit.com/

[2] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/Holly/yousend_02.jpg

[3] why they had the better Call to Action: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/02/15/large-red-buttons-oh-my/

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