The web without advertising might seem like a breath of fresh air to many users, but it would also be a very empty place, since many web-based resources require ads to generate revenues.
As digital ads become more common and more clever, users are increasingly annoyed out of buying whatever wares they might be offering. From an advertiser’s standpoint, the tipping point is now: although marketing to Internet browsers has long been a challenge, the solution isn’t necessarily to be even more irritating than the last guy.
“Ads are getting more pervasive and more difficult to easily get past,” Tony Weisman, chief executive of digital advertising agency DigitasLBi North America recently told the New York Times in an interview. “We are just destroying the user experience.”
What’s happening with the user experience on the web? The user experience is certainly suffering across the web, but in no place is this more obvious than on mobile devices. The smaller screens and abundance of improperly formatted ads that are incompatible with mobile devices can change those slightly annoying advertisements into serious turn-offs for site visitors. Instead of clicking on the , or clicking it off (which may be impossible), users are forced to simply navigate away to a place that is more friendly.
These sorts of ads may seem annoying, but other types of poorly-crafted ads are going even further, consuming massive bandwidth on data plans and bringing the mobile web to a screeching halt. Internet users have said they’ve had enough by doing the very thing advertisers had prayed they’d never consider — they’re blocking ads. It’s not just a few users here and there, either. In fact, when Apple enabled ad-blocking apps in iOS 9, many apps quickly ran to the top of the charts in the Apple Store.
Irresponsible advertisers have forced Internet users to seek refuge from online ads, even if they have found some marketing efforts to be useful in the past. Fortunately, it’s not too late. Sites like Boston.com are beginning to see the errors in their ways and are reducing the number of ads and using ad types that are more likely to be useful to site visitors.
Reducing display ads and adding in more native advertisements and sponsored ads is the new game plan for Boston.com. Sites that hope to retain the visitors that make them possible will need to think about how to deliver ads that benefit their audience instead of alienating them if they want to stay alive.