Elaine Fogel

Do Ads Aggravate and Annoy You?

aggravated woman at computer

So, the truth comes out, eh? People dislike ads.

So, where does that leave you when you’re marketing to customers and prospects? Good question! First, let’s look at the some recent research.

Get this: American adults are almost twice as likely to dislike (61%) as to like (34%) advertising! (YouGov.) And, Americans aren’t the only ones.

A recent HubSpot survey of more than 1,000 online browsers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and France shows us what types of ads people dislike the most. In first place are pop-up ads - almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents dislike them. And…

About 9 in 10 online browsers separately agreed that certain ads, like pop-ups or ads where they have to click ‘X’ to remove, are really frustrating to deal with.” (MarketingCharts)

In second place are mobile phone ads with 70% disliking them. And, in third place are online video advertising before content loads (57%).

Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see something quite fascinating. Traditional advertising isn’t as annoying as online ads.

Survey respondents find traditional advertising less annoying than online ads. Click To Tweet

HubSpot chart

In addition, the majority of  respondents (91%) agree ads are more intrusive today compared to two to three years ago. Most (87%) also agree there are more ads in general.

A majority of respondents also agree that most online ads today don’t look professional and are insulting to their intelligence (63% and 56%, respectively). Here are the results:

Hubspot ads chart

What are people doing to avoid your ads?

They’re setting up ad blockers. Why?

  • Ads are annoying and intrusive (64%)
  • Ads are disruptive (54%)
  • Ads create security concerns (39%)
  • Ads affect load time and bandwidth usage (36%)

And, if you think ad blocking is prevalent on computers or laptops, you’d be wrong!

A recent estimate pegged mobile ad blocking growth at 90% year over year, with 429 million people globally using an ad blocker on their mobile phone.” (HubSpot)

So, where does that leave you when you’re marketing to customers and prospects?

My take

No one ever said that marketing and advertising would be easy. The more effort we put into our content to attract online visitors, the more challenging it is to succeed.

Should we charge fees for our content or ask for donations? Some do to compensate for their time and efforts.

But, let’s be honest. Many businesses and organizations offer content for lead generation. The more leads we capture, the more directly we can communicate with them in a personalized way.

A Catch-22?

Maybe. 68% of respondents (your customers and prospects) say they’re fine with seeing your ads — just as long as they’re not annoying. Unfortunately, “annoying” is subjective.

The HubSpot report says we should avoid using the worst offender ads — pop ups, auto playing videos, mobile ads that take up the entire screen, heavy ads that affect load time, deceptive and low quality ads, etc.

Here are my suggestions:

  • If you use online ads, ensure they’re professionally designed.
  • If you still want to use pop-ups, test delaying them after visitors have spent some time reading your content first. Then, hopefully, they’ll see the value. If you can, don’t display these ads more than once per session or more infrequently.
  • If you still want to use videos, give visitors the option to hit the “play” button. If you make the image and message appealing, people may surprise you and play them.
  • Avoid ads that take too much time to load. The shorter time, the better.
  • Don’t be a mobile ad hog. Use less screen space.
  • Never, never use deceptive ads. You will certainly erode your brand that way.
  • Lastly, consider using traditional advertising like direct mail, consumer or trade magazine ads, local or daily newspapers, radio spots, and out-of-home (billboards, bench ads, transit shelters, etc.) They may cost a bit more, but you’ll never know how effective they are unless you test them. Start small with what you can afford and go from there. Just remember that it takes 6-9 hits before customers take action.

How do you plan to reach your target customers in light of this research?

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