Advertising is a bitter pill to swallow. In exchange for services, companies need to generate money not only to recover the expenses but also to earn. In the same manner, bloggers exert time and effort providing useful information. Hence, it would be nice to receive a small compensation in return by using various ad platforms.

Let us forget about blogging for a moment and imagine walking into a store.

Scenario 1. Sales staff are positioned strategically and ready to help when needed. Otherwise, they leave us alone to look around.

Scenario 2. The sales staff greets us. After offering to help, they leave us alone unless we ask for something.

Scenario 3. Every item we look at, the sales staff starts pitching. They only stop bugging us after being told explicitly to leave us alone.

Depending on which scenario, the shopping experience can either be excellent or infuriating.

Would you agree that being bugged by the sales staff can be irritating?

Going back to blogs, visitors dropping in is very much like customers walking into a store. Readers can browse and explore the site. They also have the choice of reading or leaving.

Besides browsing and reading, there are also other actions that visitors can take. One is to get in touch with us or sign up for the newsletter. Another is to click on interesting ads.

In a sense, the newsletter opt-in form and ads are the sales staff. Whether it enhances or intrudes on the user experience depends on how we deploy them.

User Experience

Google never stops rolling out tweaks and changes to its search algorithm. In all updates, the primary driving force remains the same – that is to deliver relevant results. At the same time, the search company also values exceptional audience experience.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not limited to one single ranking signal. For instance, a typical misperception is that keywords are everything. Instead, it takes into consideration hundreds or even thousands of factors. Among the most important are high-quality articles that have depth and profound insight. Even so, a site may receive penalties if the user experience is poor.

Audience experience covers a broad range. We can control some of the factors such as backend and frontend design. In other cases, we have to depend on third-party providers such as hosting and CDN. No matter how well-designed the blog is, though, it might not be in the future. In other words, any changes in how Google ranks sites can have a positive or negative impact.

Blogging costs time, and for many who use self-hosted platforms, also money. It is only natural that many bloggers also would like to not only recover the expenses but also to make a profit. For that reason, the eager beavers find creative ways to place ads.

Intrusive Ads

There are different ways of advertising on the blog. Some include placing banners, while the more aggressive approach is to use interstitials. These are often the ads such as pop-ups that block the content of the site.

Advertising is a fact of life. For many bloggers, it is a necessity. However, over time, the manner of its deployment has evolved. In fact, some are outright ridiculous. Rather than serving ads without getting in the way of the audience, some are incredibly intrusive. Like the pesky sale staff that we all hate, some sites shove ads down our throat.

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Are you serving ads or using an opt-in form on your blog?

Are they causing more harm than good?

Google’s Stand on Intrusive Ads

In August 2016, Google’s product manager Doantam Phan made their position on intrusive ads clear.

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” he posted. “This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

It was almost a year ago when Google started punishing sites deploying intrusive ads. Looking at the web in totality, it appears to me that some made changes to comply. A few ignored by reasoning that the money they earn from intrusive ads makes up for the loss of traffic. As for others, most are not even aware.

Google on the Warpath Against Intrusive Ads

Intrusive ads remain prevalent on the web. Whether it is a lack of understanding or deliberate, it no longer matters. The search giant is taking a more direct response to limit the intrusive ads.

The use of ad-blockers on browsers is on the rise. Such extensions have made browsing more tolerable if not pleasurable. Unfortunately, these extensions are also wreaking havoc on advertisers. In other words, people using ad-blockers have secluded themselves from publishers.

Beginning February 2018, Chrome browser will receive an update that blocks intrusive ads. Keep in mind, though, that it is not going to stop all ads. Instead, it will only prevent those that do not conform to the Better Ads Standards from showing up.

Poor Desktop Advertising Web Experiences

  • Pop-up ads
  • Auto-playing video ads with sound
  • Prestitial ads with countdown
  • Large sticky ads

Poor Mobile Web Advertising Experiences

  • Pop-up ads
  • Prestitial ads
  • Ad density higher than 30%
  • Flashing animated ads
  • Auto-playing video ads with sound
  • Postitial ads with countdown
  • Full-screen scroll-over ads
  • Large sticky ads

For a more precise understanding, download this pdf document from Coalition for Better Ads.

Audience Experience Trumps Intrusive Ads

As content manager and blogger, I visit hundreds of sites almost daily for research. I also have the habit of visiting other resources to learn new things.

Nothing frustrates me more than to have to endure pesky sites serving intrusive ads. Unlike many others who have opted to install an ad-blocker, it is a luxury I do not have.

I can only hope that more bloggers will focus on audience experience. In all honesty, I have seen blogs that do not have much traffic and yet manages to piss off the few visitors they have.

In another post, I have written about how some people bypass Google’s filtering. As a result, they were able to display pornographic or obscene ads. I understand that some of you may misconstrue my intention with this article.

Let me then state my final thoughts on this matter.

I have nothing against advertising so as long as it is responsible. Some people choose to be accountable to themselves while others to the audience.

I choose the audience.

How about you?


Content Manager, Article Writer, Blogger

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