Online advertising has become too smart for our own good. More precise and relevant than ever, yet some publishers are annoying their users, especially millennials.
Tools, apps, algorithms and other tech determine ideal ad placement and timing, target direct audiences cross-platform and optimize results, but all that is irrelevant if we’re driving traffic away.
We have solutions though. That’s what this article provides.
As the internet has evolved, so have its users. Users have grown accustomed to conventional advertising methods, nowadays widely ignored and less effective. Approaching Gen Y markets, defined generally by preferring experience over possession, requires a complete strategy overhaul, focusing on the user.
So what are we doing wrong? How can we do better? Here are the most common mistakes publishers make:
1. Goading Users With Intrusive Ad Formats
Today it’s harder than ever to break the barrier and get noticed. Lots of publishers bug their users by applying nearly any method to ‘steal’ attention. While it may get greater exposure and higher CTR, forcing someone to view something negatively impacts both the publisher’s and the brand’s reputation.
Today users are more tech savvy, price conscious and generally more sceptical. Getting their attention and loyalty requires new forms of communication. Highly disruptive ad formats such as interstitial ads & pop-ups create lack of trust and raise suspicion. This ‘cheap’ tactic can lose the site its respect, not to mention money. The Ad blocking trend is one of the results of those tactics which cost publishers over $22 Billion in 2015.
The Coalition for Better Ads serve as an industry compass. This fellowship of high profile advertisers, publishers and other major online players took on the challenge of identifying the least preferred ad formats, and guess what, intrusive ads take the cake.
This foreseeable insight raises the need and encourages the development of new ad strategies, such as integrating with the native look and feel of the site.
Solution: Show some respect – use proper formats
Take a ‘less is more’ approach. Use native, non-intrusive ad formats that don’t interfere with users on-site experience. Let them come to you. This is a great place to mention our solution of native ad unit ‘MyEdge’. It subtly fits an ad just below any image, thus minimizing “noise” on page for the user and providing a clean experience – all in an area where the user is highly attentive and engaged (right below the image).
2. Autoplay Ads That Roar With Sound
What’s more annoying? A video that starts playing as soon as a page is loaded, or one that loads a few seconds in? Either way they send you with cat-like reflexes to turn down the volume, stop the video or close the tab altogether, greatly reducing views and increasing bounce and abandonment rates.
Implementation of autoplay components is entirely up to the publisher. If your sites do have autoplay videos, we’ll just put it out there that 94% of pre-rolls are skipped. Probably one of the best ways to irritate almost any user.
It can be done right, but in most cases is more annoying than a pushy salesperson. Remember, providing a good user experience can maximize your site’s bid.
Solution: Don’t use the force
Restrict autosound. Make video ads user friendly by giving users the choice of when to start playing. Better yet, give them a reason to watch it. Avoid using this invasive and intrusive technique. Get noticed and heard by providing a relevant engaging message.
3. Littering Your Site With Multiple Ads
The age of scarcity is over, abundance is the epidemic at hand. The price we pay for overstocking pages with ads comes in the form of traffic lowering user annoyance and confusion.
Multiple display ads in different locations on the same page create a claustrophobic and unpleasant viewing experience. Combine that with a limited ad inventory and you get an ad space monopoly that feels like a hostile takeover.
This can cause banner blindness, where a user sees an ad without actually viewing it. A phenomenon that negatively affects unit revenue and may also raise the use of adblockers.
Large lucrative ad deals may make the quota, but they usually require large numbers of impressions, meaning more runtime, leading to redundancy… This means frustrating, ineffective advertising that eventually hurts your image as a publisher.
Solution: It’s a balancing act… Find the sweet spot
Think carefully about your ad locations. Get user attention by placing your ad units wisely. Find the right balance that makes your ads viewable without them taking the center of attention. A recommended technique for that would be to place ads in the proximity of images and videos, because of their engaging nature.
Let’s up the game and conjure more effective methods than banner bombardment. Display banners are a vital staple and have lots of benefits, but it’s best to put the user experience front and center, considering what they want and don’t want to see. Think about the volume of the untapped potential just lying in this market.
To improve monetization, choose quality over quantity.
4. Irrelevant Advertising – Much Like This Cutie Has Nothing To Do With This Doghouse
Whether a woman being pitched baldness treatment centers or a young man being advertised menopause remedies, unrelated ads can do more harm than good. From a user’s perspective they are annoying, appear unprofessional, and can alienate rather than engage.
Solution: Make it personal
Target consumers by applying big data of their interests and behavior. Whether you acquire it directly or through ad exchanges, think about the context. Keep it relevant to your audience. Visitors will enjoy a better experience that advertisers will pay more for. That’s what makes for meaningful and thus better converting ads.
Define blacklists & whitelists. For publishers this simply regulates which advertisers they allow/restrict to appear on their sites. One can block specific brands and landing pages or entire categories. This allows to maintain brand safety and optimize revenue by selling ad units designated for specific brands and campaigns.
To ensure campaign efficiency, publishers must find the balance by making informed data-driven choices, minimizing the amount of blocked advertisers (not always) while always staying mindful of user experience.
5. Low Quality Ads – Your Users Are Not Gullible
Spammy looking ads, especially on mobile, lose the hardest thing to gain online: trust. The threat of malware and spam exists everywhere. Fishy ads harm not just performance metrics but reduce overall site credibility.
Solution: Be a control freak
Verify and monitor the ads you serve. Constantly check to make sure your inventory is as safe as possible, securing your site’s users from potential online threats.
The best way of doing so is through frequent monitoring. Using ad verification services such as The Media Trust allows you to set the bar in terms of served ad quality, giving you peace of mind. When your reputation is on the line, you can’t afford any slip ups – which is why it’s highly important to pick a trusted programmatic partner who puts ad quality at the heart of its activities.
Make Your Page Engage
The need for a user-centered approach is favorable for all sides: users, advertisers and publishers. Instead of focusing on nearsighted, immediate result oriented planning, we should think towards long-term goals.
Provide your users with a fun, authentic experience. Be original, don’t annoy and consider them in every decision.
An ideal monetization strategy consists of intriguing visual content that gets high viewability and creates positive user engagement. Users want to be felt appreciated when they consume content online – and annoying ads are interfering their experience. It hurts their satisfaction and eventually hurts publishers’ monetization efforts.
Using proper formats – in reasonable and balanced fashion – while maintaining relevance and ensuring ad quality will eventually keep your users satisfied. By applying this approach, you’re bound to improve monetization.