Mobile web advertisers are worrying about ad blockers when they should be worried about why people want to block ads in the first place.
Web advertising in general and mobile web advertising in particular does not get a lot of positive publicity. The list of reasons not to seems to get longer by the day. Click fraud, fat finger syndrome, interrupted user experience, ad blocking software – the disparity between time spent online via a mobile device and the money invested by brands trying to reach users is still huge.
Not too long ago we thought it was only a matter of time before the amount of money spent by brands trying to reach mobile users would at the very least match the time spent on the devices. The increase in spend surely coming at the expense of media channels that are shrinking. But currently only 8% of brand advertising spend is devoted to mobile and a large part of that is channelled through the mobile response powerhouse that is Facebook. It seems that mobile web advertising in particular still has some problems.
When Dean Murphy, the British developer behind Crystal, one of the highest profile Safari ad blocking apps available in the app store, was asked by Marketing magazine why he developed an ad blocking app he responded: “I justify it to myself as [feeling] the mobile web has got out of hand with the hostility of ads. I don’t have a problem with ads in general, but the bad ones ruin it for everyone.”
So, what can an advertiser do to ensure they aren’t one of the “bad ones that ruin it for everyone” ?
Acceptable Ads, an organisation that wants ‘to make the Internet a better place for everyone by getting rid of obnoxious ads’ has a useful checklist which reads:
- Acceptable Ads are not annoying.
- Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we are trying to read.
- Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.
- Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.
- Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site we are on.
So next time you’re planning a mobile campaign, remember to respect the importance that users place on their relationship with their mobile device. Enhance that time rather than interrupt it. If you give users engaging, creative and fun ad content on their mobile device your chances of engagement are increased.