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Andrew Chapin

Stop Annoying People: How to Create Ads People Want to See

Andrew Chapin
Stop Annoying People: How to Create Ads People Want to See

There was a time when Internet ads were unavoidable. You couldn’t load a site without a garish ad screaming at you from the homepage or a pop-up demanding 20 seconds of your attention before you could watch the 15-second cat video your friend insisted would change your life.

Ads are still everywhere, but people are constantly finding new ways to get around them. Advertising startup ClarityRay, acquired by Yahoo in 2014, found that between 6 and 50 percent of sites’ impressions are curtailed by ad blockers. Adobe and PageFair reported that as of 2014, nearly 5 percent of Internet users utilized some type of ad-blocking program, and those numbers are only growing.

Companies that rely on tired advertising campaigns will lose more business than they realize as people ignore and actively block their content. In order to excite rather than repel your audience, take a page from the app developer playbook and design ads from a user experience standpoint. If you offer users a positive and useful experience, they won’t be so quick to block your ads.

User Experience in Advertising

If you’re skeptical of applying the app developer mindset to your next ad campaign, consider the success of paid native posts on popular blogs and websites. They’re designed to engage and sell to the audience, but people don’t see them as a nuisance. In fact, entertaining, useful content endears brands to consumers.

Paid native articles are approved by the sites’ publishers, guaranteeing that they’re high-quality pieces that are relevant to their readership. It’s a more natural experience than watching a video when you’re trying to read an article or being forced to stare at an ad for 10 seconds before you can access the content you want to see.

Unsure of where to begin? Use these principles to guide your next campaign and publish ads that will resonate with your audience.

1. Don’t creep out your audience.

Take note of how users react to different strategies. Ad retargeting is extremely effective at increasing click-through rates, but up to 35 percent of web users find that tactic annoying. Once they’ve seen the same unsolicited product ad 10 times, annoyance turns to anger. And believe me, you won’t like your users when they’re angry.

2. Help customers do what they want to do.

People seek products and services that make their lives easier, not more complicated. Bear this in mind while developing your product and designing your sales funnel. If you can cut your e-commerce checkout flow from 15 clicks to 4, your drop-off rates will decrease.

Don’t distract customers with pop-up ads or sneak irrelevant promotions into the checkout process. They’re trying to give you their money, so let them! Offering a hassle-free experience is more effective at earning their repeat business than shoving a bunch of last-minute ads in their faces.

3. Think multiplatform.

You probably spend most of your time thinking about how to reach the right audience, but that data means nothing if you’re not also nailing down the right time and place to reach them.

If the goal of your ad campaign is to acquire a new mobile app user, stop spending money on desktop ads. Users are in much different head spaces when browsing the web on their desktops than when they’re on their tablets or smartphones. Instead of guessing at whether your desktop ads influenced your mobile sign-up rates, find your target users in their primary surfing modes and tailor your message accordingly.

The future of advertising lies in user experience. People don’t hate ads in and of themselves; they hate ads that are irrelevant, annoying, or preventing them from achieving a particular goal. Design ad content so it flows naturally on the page and enhances the user experience. Don’t ask users to click away from an article they’re reading to check out a landing page. Use native content to engage them, and advertise in an authentic and unobtrusive way.

Have you had success with native content? Let us know about it in the comments.

Andrew J. Chapin is the founder of benjamin, an e-commerce flash deals app that forces you to make a purchase decision in 60 seconds or less. In a space that’s thick with competition from contenders including Groupon and LivingSocial, benjamin has grown to 30,000 active daily users in just five months. Andrew’s business development experience comes from companies large and small, including Microsoft, Color Labs and Feathr.

Comments

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Justin Bilyj
Excellent points Andrew. I can't help to think about the last season of Southpark the animated show. They really honed in on ads and getting around ad discernment with paid advertorials.
I think you hit the nail on the head, stop hassling consumers, but offer to make their life easier. THAT is the razor's edge of marketing. To me it always starts with content, which starts with the premise, "what does my audience want to learn, need to learn, in order to make decisions in life that will benefit them".
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