I gave up and slammed down my phone (well, not slammed, I’m too keenly aware of the cost of technology, so I “angrily” hit the button to shut it down and gently tossed it on the cushy chair to ensure a soft landing that wouldn’t further exacerbate my mood). I then sat down in the less comfortable chair and turned on the TV, to hopefully catch the story on the news.
But first, a commercial break. Of course.
All I wanted was the latest news update, so I had visited one of the sites I typically head over to, and started reading. Up pops an ad. I greedily search for the microscopic x to close it before it resets the pause on my attention span in the article and I have to start over, like an old VCR. I click it, but all it does is move the ad, something about scrolling. Somewhere else on the page in the background a video starts to play.
WTH, seriously? I get rid of one ad, now have to chase down the video to turn that off, but inadvertently hit another ad due to “thick finger syndrome” and now I’m off on another page.
It’s like trying to talk on the phone with toddlers around.
I’m a marketer. I get why they’re there. I also clearly take advantage of free content sites, which is why I see so many of them. I understand. But honestly, we need to get our houses in order, we need to promote integrity, consideration, and accountability into this situation.
I love the idea of video marketing, targeted and re-targeted ads, and native content advertising. But the content of the ads, the intrusiveness, is becoming untenable. Hence the rise in ad-blocking. But instead of trying to figure out how to block the blockers, we should think about ways to reduce the need or desire for them.
I work in digital media, so I know the need for conversions, the reporting of data of completion rates and viewability, and the click through rates. I understand, really I do. But the second i take off my marketer hat and put on my consumer hat, I get annoyed. Sure, one provider touts 100% completion rates and how 15 second videos perform better than 30 second ones, and how millennials will watch the videos on mobile. But they all seem to forget the context.
How many times do you turn off the volume on your device because you have multiple tabs open on your browser, waiting for the ads to finish before you start the content? How many times do you find yourself searching for a video on a page on your mobile phone to try to figure out where it’s coming from, only to not find it because it took 15-30 seconds to figure out where it was coming from and it ended, then a pop up ad appeared?
Answer honestly, how many times have you voluntarily clicked on a mobile ad?
I love ads. Even before digital I was the dork who watched the advertising awards. I read magazines, expensive ones, because I know they have the better ads. I watch the Superbowl for the commercials. But digital has lowered the bar. It’s so cost effective, efficient, trackable, and flexible that the bar for entry is too low.
Here’s a hint: It’s ALWAYS been about content marketing. Always. Give me good content and I won’t block your ads. Annoy me with no benefit, and I will block you and will take it out on the brand who hired you or your agency.
On the flip side, since there’s so much money being thrown around in digital media, it likely won’t get better any time soon. It bodes well for millennial gamers though, they’re used to subconsciously clipping off distractions in first person kill games, so closing down ads should be no issue for them!
So tell me, how many times have YOU deliberately click on a mobile ad?