Bad Ads Could End Mobile Advertising As We Know It

People vote with their clicks. When users click on an ad, there’s an assumption that:

  1. They clicked intentionally
  2. The advertiser’s message resonated with them
  3. They want to go to the advertiser’s site to learn more

When everything falls into place, the advertiser is pleased with the ROI they’ve achieved and the publisher is happy with the new revenue. Most importantly, the consumer is glad to have learned more about a new product or service.

“When does an ad burn out?”

As an industry, the ads we present to consumers on mobile websites and apps need to look great, as they are a part of the overall experience that publishers deliver to their audiences. In my days as a print media planner, clients would ask the question, “When does an ad burn out?” The short answer was always that a bad ad is burnt out on the first impression, but well-executed ads can run for decades (think of the Budweiser Clydesdales, which were first used in 1933).

Photo copyright by Budweiser

Bad ads are not just a nuisance; they pose an existential threat to our industry. A recent Wells Fargo report highlighted the growing trend of frustrated consumers installing ad-blocking software to improve their digital experiences. According to the study, as many as 9% of all desktop ads are blocked, and globally over 144 million consumers have already installed ad-blocking software. In particular, the report calls out pre-roll video advertising as a bad ad format because it blocks publisher content. In mobile, we see sticky banners and interstitials as delivering that same sort of negative experience by preventing access to content. Apart from a bad user experience, these types of ad formats also generate a high number of accidental clicks, which then results in low conversion rates for advertisers.

As content consumption continues to shift to mobile, the need for pleasant and effective ad formats has never been more important — new ad-blocking software is literally just one app download away.

Core value propositions of Yieldmo are to never interrupt a user, and to never block a publisher’s content. Mobile ad formats should have fun, engaging features but not hijack the page experience. There can be success in finding this balance: we see click-through rates on par with those content-blocking ad units, but typically see conversion rates anywhere from 400% to 1500% better. This is because our clicks weren’t the result of a mistake or frustration, but of honest interest and intent by the consumer.

At Yieldmo, we listen to consumer input in all the creative tests we run. Our winning ad formats are the ones that consumers voted for with their clicks, and ultimately that drove greater brand awareness or more purchases and downloads. By fostering this positive feedback loop, we help publishers offer a mobile ad experience to advertisers that consumers will actually engage with — a good one.

Ed Lake is the Vice President of Publisher Operations at Yieldmo
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