Consumers Fed Up With Too Many Intrusive Internet Ads

The latest Ad Reaction research from Kantar Millward Brown doesn't present the prettiest picture of digital advertising. Three-quarters of British internet users think there are more ads than just three years ago, and two in three say they are more intrusive. One in three goes further to say they are "irritating."

The rise of multimedia has not had a massive impact because only a quarter -- 27% -- think ads help remind them of a brand, compared to 34% globally. However, on a slightly more positive note, a third of UK consumers feel that ads are better at telling stories than they were three years ago.

So, we have many more ads that are getting in the way -- but they are, at least, managing to tell better stories. 

At the same time, there is a disconnect in the research, as digital marketers believe targeting is twice as important as consumers actually find it. The takeaway is that a negative experience of being targeted is always far more memorable than being accurately targeted. 

There are a bunch of interesting findings from the research, but these are the standouts for me. The UK is becoming saturated with more and more advertising, which consumers are now finding can get in the way.

One only has to go for a quick surf to find the British public is right in highlighting the issues we all face. Just try reading an article on The Mirror or The Express. Units pop up in front of you, the page scrambles as you scroll down, and worst of all, there are auto-play video ads you can't even ignore by scrolling away. Times all this annoyance by ten if you're on a mobile device.

It's probably little wonder that one in five Brits now block ads, and although I have little sympathy for digital freeloaders, I do think they are a bellwether sign publishers need to pay close attention to.

Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of the work of the Coalition for Better Ads. The organisation is there pumping out information on what publishers should already know. Big units that cover up the content and video that play automatically should be ditched because they simply annoy users too much.

This AdReaction research would back up that more people are feeling increasingly frustrated by intrusive advertising formats as they try to browse the web.

For Kantar Millward Brown an additional observation is that advertising works best when run on an integrated, cross-channel basis. In fact, integrated campaigns, marketers reveal, work 31% better. Interestingly, the best combination is TV and Facebook or TV and Outdoor. 

It's not just interesting because TV is present in both combinations, but because we're dealing with clearly defined channels here that have a segment -- a slot for advertising that doesn't intrude beyond that slot. You don't get a pop-up for ice cream appearing as the news headlines are read out and Facebook has a clear slot for ads that don't leap out of their box and it never automatically play audio. It's the same with outdoor. A poster or screen is limited. It's there on the wall or on a walkway, and doesn't leap out and tap you on the shoulder. 

The big takeaway? Consumers are becoming fed up with too much internet advertising, which they are beginning to see as intrusive.

They respond best to cross-channel campaigns where there is a time and a place for ads that respect the main purpose for why they are providing their attention. 

2 comments about "Consumers Fed Up With Too Many Intrusive Internet Ads".
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  1. Jeff Turner from Freelance, January 16, 2018 at 9:29 a.m.

    First they started with 468x60 static graphics at the top of the page. Most people didn't mind that, even when those expanded to 100x100's in the columns, etc.

    Then they did animations, which became distracting and obnoxious very quickly. So browsers shipped with the option of blocking animated gifs. Then advertisers came up with flash overlays and animations which took over your entire browser window. Even more annoying and somewhat insecure, so browsers started blocking flash. Iterate to today and now you have scroll lock/blurs/video autoplays/etc. in an ever-increasing war to try to prop up click rates, which is just obliterating the very content people are trying to see. 

    Even if someone is the most non-blocking, clicks on every ad or gadget on the page they still have a horrible viewing experience because of all of the crud ad agencies are dropping on these pages. Agencies and publishers have completely lost sight of the visitor because they keep focusing on the ad views they are losing to ad blocking instead of making the experience seamless for those who don't block ads. If you don't block ads you deal with full-screen takeovers begging for newsletter subscriptions and end of page or mouse-out full screen takeovers begging for newsletter subscriptions. Even if you click NO every single time they still hit you with it.

    I think Wired does a good job of dancing the line between making the dollars and not ruining the experience. They are guilty of the aforementioned beg for newsletter subscriptions but after that it's a pretty nice experience. More publishers should adopt that approach versus "let's put 20 gizmos on the page and hope 5 get through!".

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 16, 2018 at 10:13 a.m.

    So the "best" combinations of media are TV plus Facebook and TV plus out-of-home media ( 30-sheet posters? ). And how, exactly, was this determined? Did this analysis somehow define the omtimal mix---like 78.9 % TV plus 21.1% Facebook? Are we talking ad dollars or  impressions or reach? How did TV plus radio fare or TV plus magazines?Until we see some really good answers I doubt that we can hinge much of this report on the Milward Brown study, Sean.

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