In short, yes. Every single day you pull up your mobile device browser for a quick search, and the first site you click on immediately throws an ad in front of the site content. Sometimes a minute or so after you’ve been scrolling through content the ad pops up. You can try to hit the “x” as quickly as possible but, so many times, it’s in vain; your finger is too big, the ad is written in an out of date language so the “x” isn’t even on the screen or it magically moves from the right to the left corner, causing you to click on the ad. It’s reported that around 50 percent of the traffic generated by these interstitial ads are accidental clicks.
All of this is enough to frustrate users into leaving your site before even getting into the content that may very well be terrific.
Why On Earth Are These Ads Around?
Annoying web ads have been around nearly as long as the internet itself. The early Internet needed pop-ups to separate advertisers messages from those of the sites’ because there were so few users. The majority of people and even some industry professionals thought the internet was a fad and it was extremely difficult to convince advertisers to put money down. Once real estate got cheap, ads had to start competing by cramming their messages where they could.
HTML5 has allowed for more interactive ads and (sometimes) even ones we can stand you keep on the screen, but they slow down load time which uses up data, drain phone batteries and wastes our time. If you are trying to quickly load a map or schedule, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for an ad to load — especially a video ad!
For the most part, we put up with annoying ads on sites we love and trust because they have what we really want. For sites that are new to us, it’s usually easier to just go to the next similar site, leading more traffic away for a potentially amazing business.
Google is Trying to Help Us Out
Yesterday, January 10, Google announced they have finally rolled out their promised penalty for interstitial ads. These include ads that
- Cover main content as soon as or while they navigate a site’s page
- Standalones that user’s must dismiss
- Layouts where the “above-the-fold” looks similar to the interstitial, but the original content is underneath the fold
This penalty does not cover legal popups like age access requirements, cookie disclaimers or banner ads that display reasonable amounts of original content.
If you read our blog Online Marketing Trends Predicted to Explode in 2017, you will be somewhat familiar with why these ads are so useful. They are annoying in that you sometimes don’t know it’s an ad until you’ve finished reading but they fit in seamlessly with original content so there is no frenzied clicks to get them out of the way. With Google’s new penalty, digital marketers that have been relying on pop-ups will transition into more native and sponsored ads to get their products and services seen.