Consumers Don’t Mind Online Ads – If relevant and Genuine

Gone Are the Days of Banner Blindness. Consumers Don’t Mind Online Ads – If relevant and Genuine!

Have you found yourself ignoring the online ads that keep blinking on a webpage or popup out of nowhere? I’m sure most of you would have searched around to find out the “X” mark or a “close” link to be able to hide those annoying ads. Being a diehard digital marketer and a supporter of online ads (after all they do help me earn my living J and are also a life line for Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook and most of online media giants), sometimes I still do get annoyed by those ads.

The digital / online media ecosystem has evolved through a series of transformation at all levels of the supply chain including the mindset of the audience. Now we see Advertorials, Adver-Blogs, Adver-Games, Advertainment, Adver-widgets, Adver-Plugins.

This sponsored culture has propagated within the roots of the industry like any other publication media.  Amazon’s ad-supported version of Kindle, priced at $114 that it had introduced earlier this year, is currently at the top of its list of best selling electronics. Interestingly, if almost everyone is annoyed by those ads, why are people buying the ad-supported gadget!

It sheds light to an interested point about the e-commerce industry and online advertisers.

1. After all consumers don’t mind online ads, if they are what they look.

If the ads that are coming are genuine, don’t look fake or look like as if on a click they will take you a website selling bogus products, people will actually look at those ads. Moreover, the ads should not collect your information or prompt you to download something or identity where you are. E.g. the ads that come up at the bottom of the screen with a message “hi, I’m also in your city xyz, lets chat”. That’s creepy, I don’t want to see an ad that actually tracks and writes my city name.

When I reviewed Amazon, I found out that it has not done that so far. I’m sure they would be tracking personal information (like everyone else), but at least they are not showing it to you. It seems like Amazon is serving ads with no targeting whatsoever. General Motors’s Buick, Procter & Gamble’s Olay skin products and Visa were among the first advertisers on Amazon.

2. People like to see ads they like or prefer

One of the things that Amazon did really well was to include a technology that allowed users to select which ads they would like to see on their Kindle. Many market research reports have also proven this fact that serving people with ads of their own choice improved the click through rate and if the ads are interactive then engagement rates as well.

3. People don’t mind online ads if they get something in return for their click

If we talk about Kindle, then the straight deal that the readers got was a Kindle priced at $114 in return the users will view a few ads. If consumers get something in exchange they don’t mind the ads.

To back up this theory, last month Jules Polonetsky, founder of the Future of Privacy Forum think tank, concluded that less than 1% of Firefox 4 users did turn on the option of “Do Not Track”, meaning most of the people do not have a problem in being tracked.

4. The ad should not obstruct your user experience.

The ads that come as overlay, or keep popping up, definitely a no-no for them. But as long as the ads are on the right side or somewhere in the bottom or top which is not hiding the main content of the webpage, users don’t find any issues.

If we talk about Amazon, it promised the Kindle users that it will restrict the black-and-white graphic ads on home page and screen saver.

So clearly, the trends are changing and so is the digital advertising world. Hopefully other companies will also understand what their users want and change the way their ads are displayed and distributed.

by- Ashish Kanungo

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