How Online Ads Annoy Users And What Brands Can Do Instead

by Jaswanth D

Online advertising has always been a fundamental part of a brand’s digital marketing strategies. There are a lot of success stories of businesses that have reached, engaged, and converted customers, thanks to online ads. However, online advertising has become increasingly annoying to online users over the past few years. 

We’ve all been there —you’re trying to search for tutorials on the web and pop-up online ads with a teeny tiny close button bombard you as soon as you land on the page. Irritated with the ads, you go to YouTube and click on a nice video. But before you can watch it, a pre-roll ad plays and you’ll have to wait for 10 seconds before you can skip it.

Three Ways To Annoy Users With Your Online Ads

annoying ads

The people have spoken: over 90% of people report that adverts across social media, websites, and other online resources are more intrusive than 2-3 years ago. Studies also suggest that 4 out of 5 people leave a webpage because of a pop-up. The same goes for people refusing to watch content because of an auto-playing video ad. 

Online ads like these can give a bad rap, not only to brands but also to the website or channel that shows them. Here are three of the most annoying ad formats, according to online users: 

1. Pop-up ads and bad ad placement on the web pop up ads

Nothing is more irritating than trying to close a big pop-up ad when you just want to read an article. You close it then get hit with another pop-up on the bottom of your screen. Some pop-ups seem to overwhelm a webpage even before there’s even a chance to read the title of the content. 

At this stage, many online users just drop off, affecting both the advertisers and the publishers. If a site is known to have annoying pop-up online ads, visitors may hesitate to visit that site again. These can lead to lower traffic and lesser ad revenue. Likewise, people may develop a negative perception of brands or advertisers with bad placements. 

2. Pre-roll videos

skip button

I love video ads that automatically play before or while watching a funny cat compilation — says no one ever. A 2019 study by RevJet found that 100% of consumers will skip the advertisement whenever possible. Other users are even more likely to abandon their videos than sit through a long ad that they have no interest in. 

3. Those creepy, overly personalised online ads that appear right after your recent search

Ever experienced talking about your hamburger cravings and after a few minutes, you see ads of burger joints dominating your feed? Nope, it’s not from a surveillance camera installed by some Black Mirror enterprise — it’s from your recent searches. But still, it’s kinda creepy and annoying.

How can online advertising be more effective for SMEs?

online advertising

With people developing hate towards online ads, and some even pay for premium subscriptions and ad blockers, is online advertising still effective for brands? The answer is yes, but brands need to revisit their advertising tactics and seek a good digital marketing agency for data-driven strategies. 

It’s not about the quality of the content — it’s about how the ads affect one’s user experience. The frequency of the ads, webpage placement, size or duration, lack of relevancy, and bad targeting are among the top reasons why ads come across as annoying.

We’ll share some tips that will help your brand’s online ads go from irritating to engaging: 

1. Plan your advertisements with user experience in mind

The worst ads are the ones that disrupt the user experience, whether it’s from reading an article or watching a video. When thinking about your ad content and format, plan its timing and placement. 

You may want to display your ads once your user has already been engaged on the site. You may also work with influencers who can give a heads-up about an upcoming pre-roll ad. Keep it short and concise too, as most consumers are not willing to watch them to completion.

2. Find the balance in the frequency of online ads

People dislike brands with repetitive messaging in their ads. While the high frequency and more impressions may be effective for brand recall, they can also lead to negative results. That said, find the right balance in the frequency of your ads and your messaging.

3. Target your audience without being too invasive 

Effective targeting helps you distribute your ads to the right people at the right time and on the right platform. Understand who your target audience is through customer personas including age range, gender, and location. 

But make sure you know how to draw the line between being personal and creepy. Some people feel like they’re being watched when they see an ad for a hotel after reading a travel guide. Again, find the balance by experimenting to see what works for your brand. 

4. Appeal to their emotions

The solution isn’t to stop producing ads — it is to leverage the short time and space you have to capture your target audience’s attention. 

Make them laugh during the first five seconds or make the ad feel like you’re talking to them. You’re more likely to engage audiences with your ad if you appeal to their emotions or address their pain points. Determining what works best will require a lot of experimentation but it’ll be worth it. 

5. Speaking of “pain points”: Break the fourth wall

Have you ever seen a pre-roll ad that starts with something like “I know ads are annoying but hear me out” or “please don’t skip me”? While it seems ironic that some ads do this, it can be an effective way to engage with the users. You can even make the ad so creative that it’s better than the video they’re planning to watch. 

Online advertising done right can help businesses compete effectively, raise brand awareness, and drive sales across a variety of targeted channels. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a web content writer during the day and a foodie, musician, coffee connoisseur, and plant mom when her day shift is over. She enjoys sharing her insights about blogging, web design, SEO, and other forms of digital marketing. To know more about digital marketing, check out the blogs of SPRINT DIGITAL Agency Dublin.

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