I Know Why You Hate Ads
And How Advertisers Can Change That
Technology is progressing at a great speed. See that smartphone you have in hand’s reach (or reading this on)? It has more computing power than NASA’s computers used in the Apollo 11 mission. There are over 1.5 billion of those used by people every day all over the world. This brought a new way for you to connect, interact… and to be bombarded with ads.
Hundreds of billions of ads are shown on those devices on a monthly basis. Advertisers flaunt their numbers and are happy that you’ve seen one of their ads. Are you happy though? No! You hate it, you think advertisers are evil!
It’s normal for you to feel that way because advertisers are doing it wrong. All this technology dehumanized marketing to a ridiculous extent. They forgot that at the other side of the screen there’s you, a fellow human who is trying to write an email, answer a message, send a tweet, take a photo, throw birds into pigs and do other important tasks. Ads take screen space with a banner, they sneak onto the scene as an interstitial when you wanted to tap send/play/next only to take you to their web page, they fill your home screen with junk icons and they send you notifications that they are still selling the same thing they tried selling through all the other ad types. It’s like they took over your phone!
This has to stop! If the advertisers just put themselves in the users shoes, they would understand it so much better. Ads should enhance the experience, they should fit in seamlessly and they should understand the user’s point of view. As an advertiser, there are 2 key things to take into account:
How do you enchant the user?
You have to bring value. There’s no other way around that. If your ad doesn’t bring any value it will fail miserably. You can sponsor a reward. You can provide meaningful content. You can be a branded utility app (eg. recipe app if you sell kitchen utensils or spices, workout app if you provide fitness equipment). Entertain the user! Who would’ve thought that consumers want to be entertained?
When do you engage the user?
When is your ad meant to show up? The timing has to be right, it has to be part of the users’ flow otherwise you don’t enchant them. Unlike television and radio where the breaks are forced, mobile experiences have many short breaks. There’s no need to create artificial commercial breaks. Provide your value in one of the natural breaks. This way the user knows you are not trying to delay him from achieving his goal but accompany him in his quest.
Advertisers, please empathize with the users! Pick up your phone, download some apps you advertise in and use them. How do you feel? Do you now understand how disturbing some of your creations are? We, the users, don’t want any more clumsy, boring ads...