If Your Ads Didn’t Annoy Everyone, They Wouldn’t Be Blocked

Like with basically every post on this site, you should be aware that I have a bias. I work in digital advertising, and have for many years. Thus, a part of me does have an agenda. Then again…..

To start off, I dislike ad-blocking software. Universally. I’m all for the people’s right to have them, this being America & all, but I also exercise my right to detest them. Working in this business, however, I must admit– I do not click on a ton of banner or search ads. Sometimes, they are helpful, useful, whatever; but, much of the time, I find they are for products or services I’m not interested in. Advertisers are aware of this– which is why retargeting is so huge in the industry. It’s also why CPMs (cost per 1000 impressions) and CPCs (cost per click) are relatively low.

But, whether I click on ads myself is not the point. As long as they are unobtrusive, I don’t mind that they are there, nor do I go out of my way to make sure they do not appear. They do, in fact, serve a purpose; generally, to help cover the cost of domain names, server space, contributors, product development, etc. They are not there just to annoy you, despite what you may think. And, sure, big sites do make a good chunk of their revenue on advertising; on the other hand, smaller sites, like this one, simply incorporate advertising as a means to try (often, in the beginning especially, to no avail) to cover at least some of the overhead. Domain names and server space, in general, aren’t very expensive– therefore, a few appropriately-placed ads can help to offset these charges. The site owners and contributors aren’t necessarily going to get rich, and most will work full-time jobs, to, you know, pay their bills– but, every little bit helps.

Not only that, for an advertiser, digital marketing works. It’s not an opinion of mine, or some convoluted theory the IAB has come up with to convince brands to spend money online– no, it’s been proven time and time again. I’ve seen it work. I’ve talked to brands that swear by it. And they should. Because, unlike with some forms of advertising, which use averages or projections or surveys to determine the impact on the consumer, digital advertising can be qualitatively measured. Like, user X saw Y number of ads at $Z and bought item A worth $B. That kind of precision.

That being said, site owners themselves need to own up for some of the blame for this behavior. Video ads that begin to play on their own; ads in the middle of or covering content; pop-ups that aren’t blocked by the standard browser detection– they are all annoying to the user. Hell, I’m annoyed by them, and I make a living on advertising. Granted, there will be some users that, no matter how well-placed your ads, will still utilize ad-blocking technology. But that number is few and far between.

Just this week, I removed some ad placements from the Chitika Network (and yes, that is a referral link) because they were getting in the way of content, and weren’t generating any results. The compromise, on my part, just was not worth it. It’s OK to test, publishers– but you do need to be prepared to make those kind of decisions where needed. Your users, and likely, your other ads, will appreciate it.

(Photos Courtesy Google Images/e-strategyblog.com)