Online ads
Image: Detroit Jewish News.

Nowadays, online marketing is absolutely necessary for any brand or company trying to make a name for themselves or trying to keep their market position. While many users see online ads as an annoying strategy, they don’t necessarily have to be.

Advertisers are in a deadlock when it comes to using the internet as a platform for publicity since more than 80% of product searches are conducted via the web. Pop-up ads, auto-playing ads, and large sticky ads with countdowns are common, yet not the most effective way to get a message across.

Research shows that young users are willing to put up with ads, as long as websites acknowledge that they are disrupting the browsing experience by imposing them but give people options to accept or get rid of them.

Marketers have no choice, but users do

According to data from the marketing solutions firm Snapretail, over 85% of searches for products and services happen online. It just makes it self-evident that any business who wishes to make an impact today needs to go online.

It takes only a few playing around with platforms to get the gist of it, but the underlying paradigm is harder to crack: how can marketers make ads and content pleasant to users’?

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Florida International University had already found a decade ago that online ads that interrupt people make them lose not only focus but also develop negative attitudes toward the websites that display them.

In recent times, this has led to an increasing adoption of ad blockers, a new barrier that a couple of advertisers have known how to sort. Still, the message is clear: if websites don’t stop showing annoying ads, then users just prefer not to visit them.

The secret is in non-intrusive advertising

Evidently, this is a problem for everyone. Big international conglomerates, small mom-and-pop stores, marketing firms, freelancers, and yes, even users. As evil and intrusive as they may seem, a well-targeted ad not only promotes a product but saves time and money to both parties.

In the face of such an undesirable scenario, the best thing that websites and firms can do is respect and give users a choice. A HubSpot research study on Adblock Plus from 2016 showed that 16% of people would whitelist sites if asked and that 30% would turn it off permanently if sites blocked them from accessing content.

The more telling figures, however, were those corresponding to the best way to support websites. An overwhelming 68% agreed that they were fine with seeing ads on one condition: they cannot be annoying. In comparison, 9% said they were willing to pay for a subscription, and 6% stated that they preferred to donate directly.

The answer to the now age-old question seems to have an apparent answer: most people are fine with the necessary annoyance of ads, but they don’t necessarily have to be intrusive. Google has recently pitched in on this issue, proposing a set of Better Ads Standards for 2018 onwards.

Research in partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads found that users on mobile are ok with sticky ads on top and bottom of sites, while desktop users preferred non-invasive that fill the background permanently but don’t mess with the browsing experience.

This same study shows that close to half of all people installed an ad-blocker in the first place because ads were too annoying, while 63% of all users did so because of the sheer amount of ads.

All of these aspects should be taken into consideration by marketers and brands starting new campaigns for businesses. There is proof that people can coexist with ads and even support websites willingly, just don’t bother them too much about it and you will be fine.

Source:HubSpot / Google / SnapRetail / Coalition for Better Ads