March 27, 2019
Ad experience optimization
As digital marketers, it’s sometimes hard for us to remember what it’s like to be an average internet user. But when you take a step back and experience the web as most people do, you may begin to understand why your marketing activities, such as Facebook or Google Ad campaigns, might not be generating as many leads as you wanted — and why so many people install ad blockers on their browsers.
You probably know this by now, but ad blocking is bad news for businesses, including publishers who depend on ad revenue to fund content and marketers trying to connect with audiences. In reality, though, ad blocking is just a symptom of a flawed user experience — and one that marketers should consider fixing.
For years, the user experience has been ruined by irritating and intrusive ads. But thanks to research conducted by the Coalition for Better Ads, we now know which ad formats users find the most annoying. And from this study, the Coalition has developed the Better Ads Standards, offering publishers and advertisers a handy guideline for the types of ad formats marketers should avoid.
If your job involves creating digital ads, here are a couple of take-home points from the research:
Terrible ad formats can ruin the user experience
After surveying more than 60,000 Internet users, the Coalition discovered the following about desktop users:
- More than 50% of them refused to revisit or share a page that had a pop-up ad
- They hated video ads that automatically played audio
- They tried their best to avoid prestitial ads — they’re those annoying ads that pop up on websites, taking up the entire screen so you can’t actually view a content page, like this:
They also discovered the following patterns for mobile users:
- They disliked mobile landing pages with ad densities greater than 30%
- Mobile ads that animate and flash with rapidly changing background colors were distracting — and enough to discourage users from spending more time on the website
- Large sticky ads frustrated mobile users because they blocked a huge chunk of the page’s main content
Users don’t hate all ads — only bad ones
Now here’s the good news: people don’t hate every single ad they come across — they just dislike the terrible and annoying ads. In fact, the Coalition’s research found that several common ad formats actually resonated positively with users. For example, we know that most users couldn’t stand ads that took up the entire screen, however, they were relatively fine with narrow ads that ran down the right side of desktop websites or small sticky ads that sat unobtrusively on top of mobile browsers.
Users were also more likely to respond favorably to clever ads that struck a chord with them. Adopt a customer-centric approach and use customer psychology to your advantage to create engaging ads that will stir up emotions within your customer, leading them to the next stage of your customer journey.
Knowing what ad formats can annoy or distract, you can now refine the ad experience for your audience. Better still, experiment with different formats to see what resonates with your customers best. You can do this in Autopilot using an AB split test, beginning with a smaller audience such as your Facebook Custom Audience:
Congratulations! You’re now on your way to creating better ad experiences for your users and seeing those conversion rates skyrocket.