Just got off the phone with Jason Brown who is the most bubbly, hyper, positive Brit I've ever met. He's also the associate publisher over at Windows & .Net Magazine. They launched interruptive "Rockblocker" site ads about two and a half months ago, and I wanted to know how things are going.
The ads are the kind where a user has to click to get anywhere else -- you either click to say yes I want to see more about the advertiser, or you click to say, Heck no, I want to see the content I was trying to get to.
It's a particularly risky maneuver in the IT marketplace because IT guys hate advertising and loathe commercialism. Which is why none of the typical big IT advertisers such as Microsoft said they would touch it with a ten foot pole when Jason's team first pitched them.
Jason himself was nervous - he prepped the site customer service team to be ready for a deluge of angry emails. His goal was to keep it under 2,000 emails - if the anger went over he would pull the campaign. They anxiously stood by ... and only four users emailed in out of the million uniques who saw the first campaigns.
The tests averaged a click rate in favor of the advertiser of more than 20%. The ad sales team called clients triumphantly -- and landed 16 new roadblock accounts in 60 days. That's got to be some kind of sales record for a new campaign format on B2B sites. (Note - yeah, I know it's not a new format on B2C sites... but B2B is a different universe.)