Is it just me, or has the web advertising industry lost the plot?
I get the point of advertising where there is high-value content — you get more readers (eyeballs) and therefore a potential for more clicks. That advertising is more valuable and generates more revenue for the site on which it is advertised.
But … There are 2 ad types I have seen recently that completely destroy the value content in which they are placed. The two types of ads are:
- Inline video ads which slide in, moving the content down when they load, and then slide out moving the content again when they finish.
- Wrapper ads that sit around the body of the page which constantly move when you touch the keyboard (e.g. when scrolling).
Both of these ads constantly distract you from the content. I have given up reading some sites because they feature these ads — good sites that used to have my respect. I just don’t click the link to their site any more.
Sliding Video Ads
The problem is that they ‘lazy load’. In other words, they load after the content has loaded, meaning you have already started reading what you came to the site for. When they load, they open a letter-box window within the content, meaning some content starts to slide down the page as the video magically appears. When you’re trying to read the words and they start moving around it’s really annoying.
Not only that, once the video has finished playing (after about 30 seconds usually), the whole letter-box slides out of view and the content slides back up the page. Even more annoying after you have managed to adjust to where it is, then it’s off again.
You can always close the video when it opens, but you have to interrupt yourself, find the video, close it and wait for the sliding shenanigans to stop.
Please ban these ads for the sake of our sanity.
Dancing Wrapper Ads
There have been wrapper ads (as I call them) for a long time now. They sit above and down each side of the content you are reading.
The issue with these is partly that they are usually a fixed width, which is often slightly larger than my browser’s viewport. This means that the content within the window can scroll left and right as well as up and down. When you’re scanning a page this is slightly annoying but not a deal-breaker.
The real issue now is the interactive ads (like Virgin) that constantly change, sliding content in and out from ‘behind’ the central content area you are reading causing a huge distraction. The content trigger is basically any time you make an input — touch the keys, scroll, etc. The reading experience becomes a psychedelic trip.
No thanks. I’m out.
Content providers need to watch their bounce rates with these ads. I’m certain they will spike as more people like me get fed up with them. Ad blockers — not just on mobile — will become more important once again. We’ve got used to having ads and the ‘gold rush’ of the Internet days are gone, but these new ‘innovations’ will kill the content for the sake of revenue. And that’s bad.
Originally published at https://www.hologram.me.uk on July 2, 2016.