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Ads Are Content Too

The problem isn’t that we have advertisements. It’s that we aren’t doing a better job of delivering beneficial content.

Ads Are Content Too

The problem isn’t that we have advertisements. It’s that we aren’t doing a better job of delivering beneficial content.


Clutter. Clutter. Clutter. Clutter. Image overload. Ads galore. … This is why people miss the glory days of RSS (maybe the only reason).
— MG Siegler, “Let It Full Bleed

Haven’t we had this conversation before? The problem with websites like TechCrunch, Facebook, Twitter, Mashable, and so on isn’t that they haven’t implemented that great unsolicited redesign yet. The visual design might be a problem in some cases, but I feel the larger problem is we’re still delivering ads the same way we did 20 years ago.

Ads are content too.

Do yourself a favor. Stop thinking of ads as some image thrown in the sidebar or header of a websites after you’ve painstakingly finished a design. Everything we place on our websites is content. We painstakingly craft the rest of our content. Why should that stop with ads we allow on our website? We need to craft more ads that are entertaining, informative, and helpful.

People don’t hate ads.

People share ads all the time. Like the Super Bowl ads every year. Or this older commercial from Old Spice. Or Chiptole’s amazing animation “The Scarecrow” from earlier this year.

People don’t hate ads. They hate irrelevant content. They hate boring content. They hate wasting their time with misguiding content, whether intentional or not. This is why the most popular Chrome extension is AdBlock, boasting over 15 million users. Users hate being misled.

Ah! I see you’re trying to guilt me into whitelisting your websites.

We’ve created this mess. Let’s start thinking of better ways we can deliver beneficial services and products to our users.