They are usually bad actually.
We still suffer from the thinking of offline advertising trying to force the limitations of print and outdoor on the flexibility and unboundedness of the online experience. They still think that the home page is the cover of the magazine, and waste a lot of money on that.
One of the main characteristics of online ads that offline people just don’t seem to understand is that the campaign doesn’t start and end with the ad itself like in the offline world.
In a magazine, on TV, or on a billboard, the ad is just a box or a full page that contains a message. It ends there. There is no such thing as a click. In the dark ages of offline advertising the only thing you tried to do is have a catchy message, something loud, and the main thing you could track was “message recall”. It’s ok if they don’t know what the brand was all about, because the model was so much sexier than the product, the important thing was that they recalled the brand and logo. Good job. Minus $100k. Now what?
Well, the most you can hope for, is that people would call if you have a number, or visit your store, if one is close by. Buying your product of course. Oh, and “branding”.
In the magical online world, we have something called the click. The person who is interested in knowing more about you, can click, and visit your site, your social media profile, view your videos, and spend endless hours researching you and interacting with you. Each person will choose the amount and type of interaction that suits them, and they can come back whenever they need you.
Your message doesn’t need to be loud, intrusive, and shocking to get people’s attention. If you target your message properly, and have something to say that resonates with that audience, enough people will click, and then you can give them a great experience on your site, after they have expressed interest in what you have to offer.
From a messaging perspective, it’s much more effective for them to see a fully branded page, with your domain, and trust-building elements, than it would be to run an intrusive takeover on a site where people are trying to do something else. When it is on your site, you can have an interactive page that does really interesting things and provide valuable information to your users, and you won’t have to be limited by the guidelines and limitations of whichever site you are running a takeover on. You have full control and freedom. Here is where you should be creative.
From a cost perspective, it is way more cost-effective to buy clicks to that creative page of yours, than it is to buy impressions with big limitations on what and how to deliver your message.
A good banner, video ad, or even a text ad are enough to get people to click, and once they have expressed interest in what you have to say, then and only then should you overwhelm them with your magic.