What word do you associate with most advertising? For a lot people, this word is “annoying.” We have seen evidence of this on a daily basis from the surveys and interviews we run.
As you might have guessed, “annoying” isn’t the only word regularly used in conjunction with advertising. While it’s the most frequent response, often people mention “intrusive,” “disturbing,” and “aggressive.”
In light of this, it’s no wonder that more and more people choose to use ad blockers. In 2017, PageFair reported a 30% increase in ad blocking usage and this trend is gaining momentum. The more ads find their way to our screens, the stronger our need to block ads. There is no mystery in this sequence of events.
While the fact that ads are annoying isn’t surprising, the fact that even advertising professionals admit that we need to use ad blockers might sound strange to you. But again, we know this is true because it comes up in our interviews and surveys consistently.
We found it interesting to learn that advertising and marketing professionals–people who do advertising for a living–use ad blockers in their personal lives. Long story short, advertising professionals are only humans; they get annoyed by ads just as much as the rest of the world. Here’s why ad blocking usage is growing steadily among ad pros.
Display Ads Ruin Quality Experience on the Internet
If you are a typical Internet user, you’re sick and tired of aggravating ads. Can you imagine how much worse things would be if you also worked in advertising 8+ hours a day? That amount of exposure to online ads must up the irritation level 10 times, at least. That’s is a major factor in why so many advertising professionals use ad blockers after hours.
Knowing how advertising campaigns work from the inside does not make people immune to intrusive ads. Honesty, it rather exaggerates the problem even further. Not only do these people experience feelings of manipulation the same as the average person, but because they are experts in creating ads, they also know what particular tricks were used to compel them to feel a particular way.
“Ad-blockers are very powerful these days, and a must. Some of the ads are very intrusive and are very bad for quality experience/time on the internet. I use them too as a consumer.”
Saud Ibrahim, Digital Marketing Manager at The Jacket Maker
We Are Targeted by Low-quality, Low-relevance Ads
Sadly, advertising can no longer be considered an art form. Since advertising technologies have evolved to the point to which one can execute a full-size international advertising campaign in a few hours, quality ads are a rare find these days.
In most cases, display ads are poor in terms of copywriting, design, and–most importantly–the message they deliver. Using an aggressive “buy, buy, buy” approach, annoying countdowns designed to trick you into buying before a one-time super-deal expires or intriguing questions meant to make you click–this is what online advertising looks like.
Personalization is another problem. One day we see ads that are completely irrelevant to us, the next day we notice an ad that knows entirely too much about us. In today’s online marketing, it’s all about taking things to extremes. Are the good old times of creative and gentle advertising forever gone? Hopefully not.
The quality of today’s ads leave much to be desired, and that’s another reason why even advertising professionals choose not to see ads when possible.
“I think the ad blocking era signifies a time where the average web user has a heightened awareness of digital advertising and how it works. With this in mind, I feel like people can easily tell when they’re being targeted with low-quality, low-relevance ads. I feel like online ad blocking was inevitable because the production of low-relevance, low-quality ads have been so easy to scale, for nearly 2 decades.”
Scott Colenutt, Head of Digital at SiteVisibility
Most Online Ads Do Little To Connect with Their Audience
To be effective, advertising should either educate or entertain. If all it does is push us to make a purchase, our natural response is to not want to see that ad again. Unfortunately, most of today’s ads do next to nothing to engage the audience.
When was the last time an ad made you laugh out loud? (Super Bowl ads do not count). Can you recall an ad that taught you something of value? How long ago did you see an ad that reminded you of something truly important?
That’s the problem.
The majority of ad creators do not even bother to spend the time and effort to come up with a worthy idea. All they worry about is if the ad is flashy. As a result, the internet is cluttered with advertisements people would rather block. Apparently, people working in advertising are not an exception.
As our friend Jonas Sickler–Marketing Director from Reputation Management–has so nicely put it, ad blocking should not be seen as a barrier but rather as a blessing:
“Pop-up ads and intrusive overlays have resulted in lazy marketing campaigns that do little to connect with their audience. I see a shift toward working with micro-influencers to create content that truly resonates with a smaller audience. Not only does it feel much more authentic and trustworthy, but this type of content actually provides value to your target audience. It’s a win for all parties involved.”
What’s your opinion about the current state of advertising industry? Do you think, too, that the rise of ad blockers is a sign of ad industry going through a big crisis?