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Ad quality and unwanted ads

The impact of bad ads on consumer behavior and ad revenue

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been revamping the way advertising is done in recent years so that ads are better targeted to consumers. Even though online ads are seen by many as the principal culprit for ruining the online experience, as veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg put it in 2017, numerous studies and surveys indicate that people don’t hate all ads, they only hate the bad ones. That means publishers need to focus on delivering an optimized user experience (UX) as a prerequisite implementation strategy across all platforms and devices.

Advertising means different things for companies and consumers. For companies, it incentivizes investment in innovation, while for customers, it creates consumer literacy. With 91% of content consumers agreeing that ads are more intrusive than ever, it is essential for companies to find the right balance between user experience and ad revenue. The process to do so is a complex one, but the first rule publishers should be aware of, is that they need to get to know their audience utilizing AI.

Over the years, the public sentiment towards advertising has shifted considerably, and what was once perceived as something innocent and somewhat entertaining is nowadays mostly seen as annoying and intrusive, something that needs to be eliminated from our lives using adblockers. Indeed, the public view on ads has taken a U-turn since the golden days of “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”

We conduct more and more of our daily business interactions, so it is indeed critical for publishers to offer a frictionless, seamless experience that aligns with the daily lives of their users. The bottom line is that good UX strategy lead to better business, so it is essential to deliver comprehensive and integrated digital experiences that lead to both content and conversion opportunities. There is a strong correlation between the UX and ad revenue, so investing in this area will eventually lead to performance, functionality, and stability.

Current digital advertising tactics have left many users frustrated, mainly because they are disruptive and annoying. In many cases, it may not be the message people hate, but the way it is packed and delivered. Despite the move to mobile web, research from the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) shows that things haven’t changed much for the last decade, and the most annoying characteristics of online advertising are still slow loading times, pop-ups, ads that automatically play sound, occupy most of the page, or cover what the user is trying to see.

To manage the advertising ecosystem properly and obtain the desired results concerning revenue, AI and data analysis are vital tools for the modern publishers, as they allow them to offer the user the best set of ads. In a marketing context, AI is an invaluable tool that can predict consumer actions instead of focusing on past behaviors. Some of the opportunities and benefits of using AI and data analysis include faster campaign execution, bespoke messaging, as well as superior upsell and cross-sell advantages.

Innovations in AI coupled with more data about customers becoming available are critical for marketers, as they allow them to deliver the right message at the right time and place. Being able to anticipate who might engage with an ad is vital when it comes to adjusting the message and increase the chances a user takes the desired action. In other words, marketers can benefit massively from the ability to know a customer’s sentiment, which is essential when it comes to deciding how much to pay for an ad. How many ads are relevant to serve for each user? Using AI across marketing insights and customer analytics is critical to predicting what a user will do based on their behavior.

Publishers tend to spend much time and allocate enormous budgets for the content creation process for their websites, but more often than not, they choose to feature so many ads on their pages that the users feel overwhelmed, and they have trouble navigating the parts of the website they are genuinely interested in.

Couple this with the never-ending threat of malicious softwares that attack users, among other methods, via malvertising – ads infected by spyware, viruses, and malware – and it’s easy to see why ads have a bad name. malvertising is indeed one of the dark faces of the Internet, which has affected giant websites such as Yahoo, YouTube, Reuters, Spotify, the New York Times and a plethora of other publishers.

Ad malware causes trouble for millions of people, but since publishers depend on ad revenue due to their financing models, they have to keep showing them on their websites. To protect their readers against malware, they can either watch over the security of the ads carefully or look at alternative models of financing, such as paywall, to keep quality content free of ads. Because the second solution is more difficult to put in practice for both start-ups and established publishers, turning the attention to user experience is paramount for giving your audience the best user experience.

As online advertising becomes a more elaborate affair, it’s important to remember that content is still king. While real-time marketing and targeted ads are essential to a publishing business, the demand for quality, meaningful content has never been more in demand. As older digital advertising formats such as videos and banners lose ground when it comes to efficiency, publishers often find it challenging to reach their customers. Content marketing makes it possible to connect with users at a personal level, allowing them to get informed and entertained. It is then up to the user to decide whether they want it.

The combination of content that moves past marketing and the use of AI to understand consumers and adapt ads to their preferences and needs is key to increasing return users and attracting new users as well. Investing in UX development can change the way a consumer perceives a product or service, and this is essential for revenue growth. The ad game has shifted from pop-ups and banners, and the future comprises of analyzing and interpreting customer behavior, as well as creating customer personas to guide design choices.

By Lior Dori, CEO

Published: September 5, 2018

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