People feel overwhelmed, interrupted, and stalked by bad digital ads

Ad blocker usage surged 30% in 2016 , according to a new report from PageFair, a company that helps publishers regain revenue lost to the software. There were 615 million devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of 2016, 62% (308 million) of those mobile. Desktop ad blocker usage grew 17% year-on-year to 236 million.  PageFair noted that 90% of ad blocker users surveyed have encountered an “ad block wall” that blocked them from viewing content unless they disabled their ad blocker. However, almost three-quarters (74%) of those users said they simply left those websites rather than performing the steps required to whitelist them.

I have to admit that if a site tells me to disable my ad blocker I just leave the site, as do many others. Yet publishers don’t seem to care that they are driving away a lot of people because of their decision to interrupt people who just want to surf the web.  Now comes word that even our in car navigation systems my soon have branded content?

Sometimes being heard requires campaign strategies that attempt to jolt our audience to shift, to consider and take a moment out of their lives to listen to what we have to say. This interruption isn’t innately a bad thing as long as we strike and maintain the right balance.

People feel overwhelmed, interrupted, and stalked by bad digital ads and:

  • 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than 2-3 years ago
  • 87% say there are more ads in general than 2-3 years ago
  • 79% feel like they’re being tracked by retargeted ads

The advertising that is most resented by consumers is (shocker!) pop-up ads, with a 73% disapproval rating. yet they are still showing up everwhere?

Luring consumers in with something that sounds hyper-relevant to what they’re reading or watching, but ultimately isn’t, will not convert visitors into leads… but it will piss people off. When asked “What caused you to click on an advertisement, 15% of people said “The ad tricked me into clicking.”1 In case that doesn’t sound like a lot, that’s 15% of all ad clicks.

Fifty-six percent of consumers say “most online ads these days are insulting to my intelligence,”  which contradicts the idea that you need to write for the lowest common denominator. If you’ve been “dumbing things down” for your audience, you may need to revisit your buyer personas and focus on how they want to be talked to.

So how do marketers respond? Invest in more programmatic ads which are ripe with fraud.

Want to get better at advertising? Make the ads relevant to micro segments. One ad does not work for everyone anymore.

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