Are there just too many online ads?

Worldwide, 84% of consumers say “yes”

are there too many ads

A Q4 2015 Harris Interactive survey of 28,000 users in 28 countries has revealed what to many seems blindingly obvious. Consumers around the world think they are shown too many ads when looking at online content; ads that are seldom of interest to them.

So what was surprising about the survey? The overwhelming number of people who said there were too many ads: nearly 85 percent.

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The survey, conducted on behalf of management consulting firm Accenture, revealed that 73 percent of respondents were considering paying for a premium plan like YouTube Red for fewer ads. And 42 percent said they were planning to pay for “new solutions” allowing them to opt-out of video ads.

Those “new solutions” presumably include ad blocking software. More than half the respondents over 55 were aware of ad-blocking technology, while 73 percent in the 14-17 age group knew about ad blockers.

Why should you care?

Yes, it’s come to this.

Consumers’ increasing usage of ad blocking software is likely to have more publishers offering premium access to their content (subscribers will get fewer ads, and possibly no ads).

As advertisers, we need to improve our targeting. We shouldn’t be stalking consumers with remarketing ads who’ve already completed their purchase, or signed up. And we need to try to create ads that are more engaging and less disruptive, and of possible interest to the people they were intended for.

Launching the LEAN Ads programme last year, the IAB’s Scott Cunningham said “We messed up”; the industry had lost track of the user experience.

LEAN (an acronym for Light, Encrypted, Ad Choice Supported, Non-invasive ads) seeks to counter some of the bad practices that have abetted the rise in use of ad blocking software. Recommendations include speeding up page loads by no longer pre-loading ads when the units aren’t in view, and limiting non-essential calls from trackers. Video autoplay, and flashing and blinking ads are also on the IAB’s hit list.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and overseas the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.