If there’s one thing most sites have in common, it’s ads. They’re usually found in the header or in the sidebar—that’s if you’re lucky. Some other kinds of ads can really hinder a user experience or, as one I’ll cover, may creep you out a little.
While ads serve as a revenue source for site owners and for businesses, I think some types shouldn’t be used.
Ads That Move the Article
I was reading an article a few days ago. I was really into it and then all of a sudden it moved right. I had no idea what was going on until I saw an ad appear. At first I was confused, but then I got kind of upset. I know pop-ups happen from time to time, even timed pop-ups. No big deal, but come on! I was in the middle of the article and the content moves? I was thrown off. Or, if I had to put it into a .gif it was like this:
I did finish the article, but I really couldn’t get over the fact the site thought that was a good idea. Or, maybe they didn’t care. “Hey, we got this fool on our site so it’s going to count as an impression. Let’s toss another ad in just because.”
Ads That Have Sound But You Don’t Know Which One’s Doing It
Sites with a ton of ads aren’t a ton of fun to begin with, but when you come across one that rotates ads in and out and then one starts playing a video? While you’re trying to focus on the content? The plus side is most of those will let you mute or stop the ad, but when there are several to look at and you’re also trying to read it’s almost like:
And when you do find it, you forget where you stopped. So you have to start over, and by then, more than likely, another ad with audio is going to start up and so THE CYCLE REPEATS! Ads with audio/video should be banned, but they make money for the site they are on so once again, why should the site owner care?
Ads That Follow You Around the Internet
Everyone has heard of retargeting, or remarketing if you want to call it that. Essentially, these are ads that “follow” you around for a little while after you’ve visited a certain site or looked at a certain product. Before I learned what this was, anytime I saw an ad for something I was just looking at I was like:
While it can be annoying, I do see why it’s done. But when I’m on Facebook looking at the photos my wife uploaded of our kids, I’m not exactly in the mood to click on an ad and go buy a cell phone cover I was thinking about getting her a few hours ago.
On top of that, it’s equally frustrating when I see retargeting ads for stuff I’ve already bought. I’ve had friends ask me what kind of mic I use or what kind of mouse I have. So I go grab the Amazon link I used to buy them—no big deal right? Ten minutes later, all I see are ads for the mic and mouse I already have. I have it already, I don’t need another one.
Ads That Appear When You Click to View an Article and You Have to Click Another Button Before Proceeding
I run into these all the time. I’m looking at you Forbes.com. But the one that really irritated me the other day was when I clicked on an article and, to my dismay, it was split into seven pages. The site was riddled with ads. But to my delight, there was a “view as one page” button. So I happily clicked it—and it took me to an ad with “click here to continue to the content.” This pretty much sums it up:
If a site has ads on it already, fine. But please, PLEASE don’t make me click through an ad to view the content I want to see.
Ads That Pop Up When You Click the Background Not Realizing It’s an Ad
This happens to me all the time. I click to an article and begin to scroll, and maybe I click by accident or maybe I’m clicking on the page so I can begin to scroll. No matter when that happens, I’m taken to another window where something is being advertised.
Every single time that happens I always, ALWAYS close the window I’m taken to. I don’t even know what the ads are for. It doesn’t matter. I didn’t mean to click on it, and I sure don’t want to continue on the page I was taken to. Most of the time, yeah, I’ll keep reading whatever I was reading and make sure to click only within the content area. And if I’m really lucky, I’ll click on another ad, which is just so much fun.
Like I’ve said, I know ads are important and they serve a purpose. But just because you want to make some money or sell a product doesn’t mean you should frustrate or creep out users.