Digital Advertising has become increasingly popular over the past several years, but some ad practices are doing more harm than good. As consumers use their mobile devices more, ad experience is becoming more important than ever. Intrusive ads are driving customers off websites before they even view any content and are keeping them from coming back. When planning 2017 marketing, you may want to reconsider certain parts of your web experience.

The Most Despised

The award for most hated web ad goes to screen takeover! The ad, which is similar to a traditional pop-up, takes up the entire screen covering all content until the user either interacts or closes out of the ad. Hiding the close button or making it difficult to locate it is a guaranteed way to have the users immediately leave the site. Traditional pop-up ads taking up space in front of content also falls into the most hated ad format among internet users.  Blocking the content that users came to the site to view usually results in frustration, anger, and site abandonment.

The graph below illustrates which types of ads online browsers dislike, with 73% of people answering that they dislike online pop-ups. We know that pop-up ads can prove to be effective, but at what cost to your users? Not all pop-ups are bad, but finding the happy medium between conversions and user experience is where most brands and publishers struggle.

ad block

Pop-Up Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t: Hide exit buttons or make it difficult to close the ad by using small buttons. This will almost always result in an automatic site abandonment or accidental click, neither of which lead to your desired results.

Do: If you have to have a pop-up, trigger it later in the experience, such as when the user gets to the bottom of the page. This way they can still consume content, and may be more likely to engage in a desired action afterwards.

Don’t: Use large pop-ups that cover the entire page. Instead, try using smaller ads in the corners or sides of the screen.

Do: Test pop-up ad sizes, formats, and placements to see how each is effecting the web traffic on your site. A/B test the page with no interference and see what that traffic does. If they’re staying longer and clicking more pages, you may want to consider different types of advertisements on you page.

It’s Not Only Consumers

If people leaving your site isn’t enough of a reason to stop intrusive ads, Google is going to start to rank sites using pop-ups and interstitials below where they normally like. Google values the consumer experience and so sites that are hindering the experience, may start seeing lower organic searches and traffic beginning in early January. This new algorithm will target ads that grey out content underneath them or cover large amounts of screen space.  Pop-ups and overlays that are needed to meet legal requirements like age on an alcoholic beverage site, will not penalized. Other small banner ads that don’t block content or hinder the user experience will likely not see any negative effects either.

Ad Block Users Increase

It is estimated that more than 25% of internet users have used some type of software to block ads this year. The number one reason people block ads is because they find them annoying and intrusive. Because publishers continue to add large pop-ups, users have decided to stop seeing ads all together. All hope is not lost, 77% of people agree they would prefer an ad filter rather than a complete block.

Large pop-ups could also be slowing down your site speed, resulting in quick bounces off your page. In a study conducted by the New York Times, some websites had advertising content that was up to 3 times heavier than the page’s editorial content. Because 74% of people leave a mobile site that takes more than 5 seconds to load, you could be hurting web traffic before they ever even see an ad. This factor is also contributing to the rise in ad block usage. Video ads and large image ads contributed most in the slowed down site speed.

page speed

User First

As we near 2017, advertisers and publishers need to change the way they think and focus on putting the user first. If you find yourself clicking out of sites with multiple pop-ups, or installing ad block, it may be time to change the way you show ads on your site. Consumers will ultimately decide if they want to continue to visit your site or if they want to avoid it all together. Make their choice easier by sharing great content, optimizing for mobile, and removing intrusive ads that hinder the experience. You’ll find that people will stay longer, find your brand more reputable, and may be more likely to engage in a desired action if you make their web experience enjoyable. Advertising is important to site revenue and future sales for multiple industries, so let’s work together to protect its integrity and value to those who will experience it most.