While many sites do the right thing by their viewers and not encroach on the content consumption experience, many websites get the interaction wrong and should begin focusing on feedback, rather than exclusion.
From News to Reviews, Search to Video, we see advertising encroach on our viewing experience.
Advertising is a legitimate form of revenue raising that is all too often poorly implemented, resulting in a fractured user experience. Use the follow image as an example.
I use this image as a protest against websites that either have poorly implemented advertising or prevent access to their website when I use technology known as an ‘ad blocker’.
Ad blockers are browser plugins that are capable of detecting and hiding or preventing advertising from appearing.
Many people use them for various reasons. Here are mine that are relevant today:
- Auto-Play Media – Audio/Video that loads and plays automatically.
- Auto-Load Media – where media is loaded, but not played. This consumes a significant amount of data allowance.
- Takeovers – Where an advertisement takes over the browser window, covering the content.
- Fake Stories – A group of links to what look like ‘more stories’, but link to other websites.
- Interrupted content – Where advertisements are placed inside the content, especially where you might expect related content (i.e a Photo in a Text news story).
These are just some of the reasons that I use an ad blocker.
While some websites have the ability to detect ad blockers, many go about what to do after detecting an ad blocker differently. Some examples include:
- A pop-up or ‘takeover’ asking for the ad blocker to be turned off which can be dismissed without any penalty.
- A pop-up or ‘takeover’ asking for the ad blocker to be turned off which can be dismissed with some penalty that may include
- A limited number of ‘free’ reads
- A limited amount of the content viewable
- A constant reminder you are using an ad blocker
- A pop-up or ‘takeover’ asking for the ad blocker to be turned off which requires you to disable your ad blocker or you can not access the site.
The largest failure when it comes to these methods is they never allow the visitor to provide feedback as to why they are using an ad blocker. There may be a variety of reasons for using an ad blocker and they include:
- Too many ads
- Obtrusive ads
- Auto-play ads
It is also possible that a visitor uses an ad blocker not to specifically target your website, but as a general response to their history of interacting with ads on the internet.
This is why it is important to ask for feedback when someone is using an ad blocker on your site. They might be willing to disable the ad blocker on your site if they have never had a problem with your website specifically.
Using ad blockers as a feedback tool, rather than an exclusion tool will help your website grow a loyal audience that is not only willing to view your content, but also show ads on your website or even pay a regular subscription to help eliminate advertising from your revenue as the only source of income on the web.