Arnold’s Christmas advertising blitzkrieg

For the past couple of years I’ve had a fun little Christmas tradition with my boys.

I download this free app called “Christmas Countdown,” and every night at bedtime we open the app talk about how many days are left while the app plays a cheerful Christmas carol.

But this year the app developer made an “interesting” business decision.

A few seconds after you launch the app, a full screen ad appears.

That’s pretty annoying all by itself.

But to make matters far, far worse… Many of the ads are video ads, and they just start playing automatically.

Nothing quite captures the Christmas spirit like watching tanks roll to the tune of “I Saw Three Ships” while a smartly dressed General Arnold Schwarzenegger barks, “Join me, and strike!”

Now technically you can dismiss these obnoxious ads just by clicking the X.

But as the New York Times reported recently, the advertising companies deliberately make the close button TINY.

It’s almost impossible to stab that button with your meathooks without accidentally “clicking” on the ad.

That’s 100% intentional.

The microscopic close buttons inflate the clickthrough rates so advertisers can charge more.

I’m all for improving clickthrough rates and getting more traffic from your online advertising.

But trapping or tricking people into clicking your ads is just plain stupid.

It’s obsessing over traffic for traffic’s sake.

That’s bush league.

Real marketers focus on creating an offer that people actually WANT…

Then building a sales machine with great copy and relentless followup…

So that your business can afford to spend money for GOOD advertising (instead of garbage clicks from free Christmas apps).

Sound good to you?

If so, 80/20 Sales and Marketing is your field manual.

This book is the best guide to the “marketer’s mindset” I’ve ever encountered.

Get the “dead tree” version—you’ll refer to it often: