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BizReport : Advertising archives : June 19, 2017

More than decade later, people still don't like ads

A new survey by Nielsen Norman Group has found that little has changed in the past decade with regard to people's views on digital ad formats. People still don't like them.

by Helen Leggatt

Despite considerable changes in the digital advertising ecosystem since Nielsen Norman Group's (NN/g) original research in 2004, the same reasons are given today as back then for the dislike of some ad formats: they are too intrusive, such as popups, or too disruptive, such as pre-roll ads.

The NN/g research involved presenting 452 adults (who were not in the IT or marketing industry) with wireframes depicting ad formats on desktop and mobile. They were asked to rate each format on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 being a 'strong like' and 7 a 'strong dislike'.

The results were unsurprising.

"None of the ad types were particularly liked: the lowest average rating was 3.81 (just barely better than the neutral point of 4) - that is, most people did not indicate positive affect for any ads, but rather ambivalence toward certain advertisement types," reported Therese Fessenden, user experience specialist with NN/g.

The least disliked ad format was the desktop-only 'right rail' with a rating of 3.81 followed by 'related links' ads at the foot of articles with a rating of 3.92. 'Related links' on mobile, however, fared worse with a rating of 4.28.

The most disliked format was 'modal' on both desktop and mobile rating 5.82 and 5.94 respectively. 'Modal' ads appear on top of a site's content and must be closed before interaction with that site's content. The next most disliked format was 'intracontent with content organization' on mobile rated 5.89.

"Designers and marketers continuously need to walk a line between providing a good user experience and increasing advertising revenue," says Fessenden.

"There is no "correct" answer or golden format for designers to use in order to flawlessly reach audiences; there will inevitably always be resistance to change and a desire for convention and predictability. That said, if, over the course of over ten years, users are still lamenting about the same problems, it's time we start to take them seriously."

Tags: advertising, advertising format, desktop, mobile, research

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