The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques
June 11, 2017 3:02 PM   Subscribe

"[Nielsen Norman Group] conducted a survey with 452 adult respondents from the United States who were not employed in an IT- or marketing-related industry. In this survey, participants were shown 23 wireframes corresponding to different types of advertisements and rated how much they disliked them on a scale of 1 to 7."
posted by jenkinsEar (47 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's interesting that their advice is framed as "these ads are safer for you, these ads won't make as many people hate you". Instead of, you know, "people will respond positively to these ads".
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:15 PM on June 11, 2017 [16 favorites]


I was just happy that the website was ad-free.
posted by MtDewd at 3:27 PM on June 11, 2017 [4 favorites]


Ironic that a survey revealed that "modal" (pop-up-in-same-window) ads were the most hated. One of my most hated is the modal pop-up asking me if I want to take a survey.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:36 PM on June 11, 2017 [14 favorites]


Nielsen Norman Group is probably the most respected usability firm on the planet and led by these usability/design luminaries so maybe that explains the unusual level of frankness in this study. Makes me miss heading over to useit.com to read Jakob Nielsen's latest data driven articles on sucky web design.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:37 PM on June 11, 2017 [5 favorites]


I've totally forgotten about NNG's articles - yay!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:41 PM on June 11, 2017


Unfortunately, I suspect that many of the least hated are because they can be easily ignored, which is exactly what advertisers hate. The information is probably more relevant to website owners, as truly annoying ads may drive users away entirely -- I know that autoplaying video ads are an instant auto-delete for an app or game on mobile for me, and will make me unlikely to revisit your site in browser.
posted by tavella at 3:45 PM on June 11, 2017 [8 favorites]


I have built ad blocking into most of my everyday media: uBlock Origin on my browsers, television from… sources… that edit out advertising, skip forward on podcasts.

My filters have grown to the point that encountering advertising - on a freshly installed browser, say - is highly unusual. When it does happen, it's like seeing an entirely different world - and it's horrifying.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:56 PM on June 11, 2017 [47 favorites]


That pop-under from c. 2004 that lurked for a while then made "I'm knocking on the inside of the monitor" noises … gah!
posted by scruss at 5:07 PM on June 11, 2017 [5 favorites]


This was interesting to learn what online advertising is doing, because I honestly haven't seen an ad in years.

I used to watch broadcast television with ads until my aerial blew away in a storm a few years ago. I thought I'd just watch the shows I want online until I get it fixed, and I just never got around to it. Now when I see television I realise how bonkers they are. How did I not notice before? Do they really think I'm going to buy a $40k car because it looks cool on TV? How stupid do they think I am, that I'll buy a specific brand of beer to meet sexy women? I look at my friend's reaction and there isn't any, it's just accepted how dumb and clumsy the ads are, they don't even notice.

I feel the same way about online advertising since I started using adblockers.

Adeptopia is happily ad-free, until I walk out the door. The intersection at the end of my street has SIX digital billboards advertising vapid bullshit. Some of it doesn't even make sense. There's a high-end luxury jewellery store advertising on a 4k screen at a bus shelter. Way to find your audience.

My billion dollar augmented reality app idea will turn all these billboards into lolcats.
posted by adept256 at 5:16 PM on June 11, 2017 [13 favorites]


I consistently despise all of them. Does this mean they will now release something that makes me remember these fondly?
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:17 PM on June 11, 2017


Can someone show this to CNN? Auto playing noise is unacceptable, be it advertising or "content". (I basically only go to CNN by accident and have a tendency to close it right away and curse the asshat who sent me an auto playing link.)
posted by nat at 5:52 PM on June 11, 2017 [16 favorites]


Your title is the reason "all of the above" was invented.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:55 PM on June 11, 2017 [2 favorites]


God I love people. Everyone can say they hate everything (who the fuck hates related links, of all things?) but advertisers are not fucking stupid. We employ ad methods that work, with people just like the people who hate everything in this survey.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:03 PM on June 11, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised that incentivized advertising wasn't one of the categories. This is opt-in ads where the viewer is rewarded at the end. For example, in a game, finish a level, watch an ad, get in-game currency or bonuses. I'm very curious as to how that would rank (curious because I worked at a company that specialized in that form of advertising and did quite well by it).
posted by kokaku at 7:04 PM on June 11, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised that incentivized advertising wasn't one of the categories.

I'd be curious too, I regularly play a mobile game that has quite a lot of these (you elect to click on the button to see an ad, and afterwards you receive bonuses) and uses them exclusively - that is, there are no ads you cannot avoid, only ones you choose to watch. I enjoy this game a lot and have no negative feelings about any of the ads, despite having seen them all many times.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 8:25 PM on June 11, 2017 [9 favorites]


Autoplay video, intrusive ads? I just close the page. There's nothing that important I need to see there.
posted by bongo_x at 9:04 PM on June 11, 2017 [6 favorites]


Autoplay video, especially the crap that won't turn off, makes me definitely not want to patronize your website or buy your products. That is all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:10 PM on June 11, 2017 [4 favorites]


I briefly fantasised about an ad blocker that had a feature where if the site detected ad blocking and put up a modal dialogue box saying you weren't allowed to visit unless you turned off your ad blocker, it would forward the site to a botnet and buy a few seconds of DDoS. Shock therapy for sites that need to change their business model.

This probably counted as evil.

If you're at the point where ad blockers are making it difficult to pay your staff, you need to recognise that your business model is broken and you need to change it. People buy things on the internet all the time; they're just not buying your thing.
posted by Merus at 10:46 PM on June 11, 2017 [10 favorites]


Autoplay video

Autoplay video makes me irrationally angry because it makes the internet much less accessible where I am - where most people are using smartphones with strictly metered internet. We're talking 5GB per month if you're well off. And they're often on sites where you wouldn't otherwise expect a lot of bandwidth-heavy content.

So do all types of bandwidth-heavy ads, but video ads make me want to send actual hate mail sometimes.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:29 AM on June 12, 2017 [7 favorites]


If you're at the point where ad blockers are making it difficult to pay your staff, you need to recognise that your business model is broken and you need to change it.

What should their new business model be? Subscriptions with gated content? Rely on the kindness of strangers by asking for donations? Hoping a micro-transaction system finally takes off? It's a pet peeve of mine to see the "change your business model" cliche tossed out as if it's the easiest thing in the world to do, and when there are no good options available.

I don't like ads either, but in some respects they're the least-worst option for keeping sites alive, and keeping content freely available. Suggesting a site be DDOS-ed for the temerity of asking you to "pay" by viewing ads is kinda churlish. I use an ad-blocker too. But I realize there's a bargain in place. I don't want advertising on equipment I own. The other side of the bargain is the sites can deny serving their content if I'm denying them their revenue stream. That's not entirely pleasant, but it's fair.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:52 AM on June 12, 2017 [6 favorites]


Can someone explain why it's not possible to have a browser addon that instead of blocking ads simply just doesn't show/render them so that the end user is not annoyed but as far as the content provider knows, the ad was viewed?
posted by Gev at 4:23 AM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I didn't see a line item for "modal dialog designed for an iPhone 6 sized screen and you only have an iPhone 5 so the close box is offscreen and unreachable".
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:55 AM on June 12, 2017 [3 favorites]


Can someone explain why it's not possible to have a browser addon that instead of blocking ads simply just doesn't show/render them so that the end user is not annoyed but as far as the content provider knows, the ad was viewed?

I don't think its impossible - but there are down-sides for the users. When a page that the supplier loads the advertiser can look to see if the requests that it would expect to load normally have indeed arrived at - and been supplied by - their server. If we simply block out the ad requests then we can expect a faster page load. If we want to fool the supplier then we need to make the request (and process the result) as if we were going to render a page - then selectively not show the element that we have requested. That is going to slow performance - so it is not a great tactic to employ unless many more suppliers are running the "we know you're using an ad blocker you, bastard" strategy (and the blocker authors have decided it is morally OK to circumvent that message to the user).
posted by rongorongo at 4:59 AM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


That's actually how ad blockers work: they just elect not to display the whole content. But web pages are complicated things that include actual programs, and the bits that don't get displayed may do things like tell the advertisrr when (if) they were run. So you have ever more complicated ways that advertisers try to make displaying the non-advertising content depend on displaying the advertising content, and the ad blockers keep trying to work around that. Eventually, I think, the ad blockers will effectively download and execute the entire website in a page hidden from the users' view, and then scrape it for the actual content that the user wants to see. I can't imagine any way around that, but who knows.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:03 AM on June 12, 2017 [3 favorites]


Autoplay video

I noted one of the new features mentioned at Apple last week as coming to Safari in the new Mac OS this fall is the ability to block autoplay video. (I just hope they can also bring that to us older Macs stuck on El Capitan.)
posted by dnash at 6:08 AM on June 12, 2017


I keep the sound muted on my devices precisely because of the autoplay problem. I resent the hell out of a promotion that not only jolts me, but annoys anyone in my vicinity. It's just goddamn rude. If there's something I want to hear, it can wait until I've attached the headphones and turned on the sound.

The "modal" ads are just as bad. It's an unfortunate feature of my neurological makeup that I startle easily and hard. When I land on a page and start to look at the content, having a large box suddenly BAM into my face causes my whole body to clench. It usually takes me a minute or two of conscious effort to recover. If I ran the zoo, modal ads would be banned by law.
posted by Weftage at 6:47 AM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I will admit that I will play the videos in games that give me in-game perks on mobile. I usually do it with the sound turned off while I am doing something else. Press play, do something else for 30 seconds, look for the little x to close the video, accept in-game currency. Rinse. Repeat. All I can tell you is that there seem to be a lot of Clash of Clans clones out there or something.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:58 AM on June 12, 2017


Autoplay video, especially the crap that won't turn off, makes me definitely not want to patronize your website or buy your products.

I suppose the concept is that the ads onscreen on TV and especially before movies on the big screen are functionally autoplay video, "but we can recreate that cheaper!"

Incidentally, when I encounter ads in the cinema, I either keep my eyes closed or watch them with my earphones in and playing music, so I get either the video or the audio of the ad. (Living in a bilingual country, I realized years ago how many ads did not have an audio track tied to the video, so it could be replaced easily. I am also interested in how audience members who cannot see or hear would receive them.)

A lot of the ads in 2017 become shambles for the visually or auditorally impaired, let me tell you. I have heard so many commercials where the audio is someone whistling over a plinking ukulele track. Fuck knows what I was being sold there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2017


These people were shown 23 wireframes. Number 12 will SHOCK you!

Sometimes I get sent clickbait links on the group chat at work. Sometimes I'll open them (I use uBlock Origin) to see how many items were blocked on the page. The amount of ads and trackers on those sites is insane. At least I think I got the other co-workers to start using uBlock. To me clickbait is nothing more than advertising in itself.
posted by azpenguin at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2017


Ads and such eat up bandwidths on older computers. That's why I hate 'Em all.

If your ad is keeping my computer from loading the content I originally wanted to see, I do 't care how inoffensive it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:13 AM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


"We employ ad methods that work"

I never said that they don't work. I click on ads all the time. I just hate myself for doing it.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2017


I am kind of surprised that the "related content" crap wasn't hated at a higher rate. Maybe they are mixing ACTUAL related content with the Taboola/Outbrain chum-farms at the bottom of most sites.

I have no issue with a site providing me with links to more of their content (as in "more articles like this one, on the exact same website), but when sites include clickbait bullshit "one weird trick" shit links to spam-farm garbage websites? UGH. I hate that way more than an easily-dismissed modal ad. If I could wipe Taboola off the face of the web, I would do it in a heartbeat.

I am not annoyed when sites show me ads for stuff I just bought on Amazon. Really. I'm mostly just exasperated that in 2017 the best we can do is say "Hey, this guy just bought a thing, so let's show him ads for the exact same thing he just bought, because now that he owns one he has proven to us he is interested in the thing!" Yes, Amazon. I am interested in it. But I JUST FUCKING BOUGHT ONE so really, what are the odds I am going to immediately get a 2nd one? You're wasting your time, and I can't believe that the AI in place is that bad at guessing what I might actually buy. One would think that Amazon at least would be bright enough to think "Gee, dude bought X, perhaps we should now feed him ads for 'accessories often purchased to go along with X'"...
posted by caution live frogs at 8:39 AM on June 12, 2017 [6 favorites]


I enjoyed seeing the data. I'm surprised that some of the ad types weren't absolutely 100% reviled. But perhaps it's a self-correcting problem. I rarely see those ad types any more.

On my desktop, I use u-block origin liberally. I whitelist sites that I care about as long as their ads don't violate some fundamental rules. If they violate "annoyance" rules but I still like to see the site's content, I remove them from the whitelist.

However, auto-playing sound/video, modal ads that require you to close them to see content, ads that reshuffle content when you're trying to read (or worse, trying to click), and clicks that take you somewhere unexpected... these sins will now earn a black-list. I will not visit these sites again. I have found that I don't miss these sites either. Some major news orgs fall into this category, as well as local news orgs (most local ones are actually pretty decent once u-block is done with them).

It was mobile that finally made me cross the line and implement these rules. The user experience was *so* bad that it motivated me to make major changes to the way I browse. And my reaction any time I see an article bemoaning the advertising situation is always "You brought this on yourself."

That said, I *do* appreciate the sites that use ads reasonably, with appropriately targeted (relevant to the content/interests I am browsing). Clearly by viewing/reading that site I am interested in those things! I sometimes even follow those ads for more info.
posted by Lafe at 8:42 AM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


What should their new business model be? Subscriptions with gated content? Rely on the kindness of strangers by asking for donations? Hoping a micro-transaction system finally takes off? It's a pet peeve of mine to see the "change your business model" cliche tossed out as if it's the easiest thing in the world to do, and when there are no good options available.

It depends on your content, obviously, but I've seen a few that work and are sustainable. I haven't seen anything yet that looks promising for investigative reporting, but most of the rest of the newspaper has its own viable way of making money. Starting, of course, with the funnies.

The first people making money online with free content were webcomics: they pioneered the model of selling merchandise based on their art and writing, and settled on shirts because they were cheap to make and got the best response rate. It's important to understand that in a free model, you're monetising goodwill. People like you and trust you, and you offer a mutually beneficial way to express that. I buy a shirt with a great joke and a neat design, and you get lunch. Upsettingly, most of the fake media empires run off this model.

I think the 'sub with gated content model' works best for politics and opinion, because this model works best for fields where a strong, authorial voice is the main drawer. The risk of the sub model is that you put your 'best stuff' behind the gate, which means that your intro articles are, by definition, not your best stuff. A field where authorial voice is valued doesn't need to split the difference: you put your best and most timely stuff out for free, and the true fans get to read more intriguing takes from the voices they've grown to love. Andrew Sullivan ran a sub site for several years; I think the 'news/author space' split is a better one. This also seems to work for gaming sites, which also, unusually, rewards an authorial voice, although RPS is a niche in a niche and runs ads.

The most successful model I've seen (that doesn't rely on fleecing your readers) is through affiliate links. For instance, The Sweethome and The Wirecutter do product category reviews, telling readers firstly what kind of, say, vacuum cleaner they need, and then which one is the best one. These reviews can (and should!) be extensive, they don't have to be timely, and because they review a category, not a product, they update the review with the new product and the links stay good for years, so they stay high in the Google rankings. The key is, after the recommendations, they have a link to buy the thing right from Amazon, for which they get a cut. Their audience are people looking to buy a thing, for which they provide a huge page of reasoning, a reassuring statement about why they can be trusted, a roundup of all the other products on the market going back years, and a link that lets them both act on any one of the suggestions and also earn the site a cut of the purchase. These sites run at a healthy profit. I'd love to see this model tried for professional food and arts reviews, long a drag on the newspaper finances and threatened by sites like Yelp despite the general low quality of Yelp reviews. They share an audience of motivated buyers, and there's room to build a relationship over time like with the Sweethome/Wirecutter by making consistently excellent recommendations.

There is also Patreon, which relies on the kindness of strangers, but it takes surprisingly few patrons to make a job viable. I'd love to see Patreon used for local reporting; $5 to have someone report on what's going on at local council, spread over 20-30 local citizens, is enough to pay for someone, and that personal touch is key to Patreon working. I've seen something like this model work for bands, via a site called Eventful - fans request their artist play their town, super simple - and I think there's room for a site that acts as a kind of Patreon for local news.

Like I said, I haven't seen a business model yet that even looks like it'll work for Spotlight-style, long form investigative journalism. I also don't have a good model for tech news, mostly because it seems like the hard part is getting nerds to shut up.
posted by Merus at 9:28 AM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


My standard setup is Ublock Origin, Ghostery and an HTML 5 autoplay disabler. That's on Chrome at work. At home I substitute the disabler with noscript. I cannot believe how slow and bulky webpages are without those installed.

I honestly don't mind interstitial ads, as long as they don't don't reorganize the page. And don't eat up bandwidth. Although I do wish there was a way to tell the ad companies that I already bought the product, that advertising for something I did extensive searching for won't help.
posted by Hactar at 10:18 AM on June 12, 2017


....Some of you have mentioned uBlock - is that better than Adblock? And do they filter out the Taboola cruft?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on June 12, 2017


What should their new business model be? Subscriptions with gated content? Rely on the kindness of strangers by asking for donations? Hoping a micro-transaction system finally takes off? It's a pet peeve of mine to see the "change your business model" cliche tossed out as if it's the easiest thing in the world to do, and when there are no good options available.

I don't care. This is where we're at, it's now my problem how businesses make money. I don't think "in a way that doesn't piss off and alienate your potential customers" is such a high bar, it wasn't in the past. It's an amazing switch from the idea that business's job is to draw customers in with things they want, to it being my job to put up with their abuse or "why do I hate America?"
I know, computers, the internet, it's all different now.

So you have ever more complicated ways that advertisers try to make displaying the non-advertising content depend on displaying the advertising content, and the ad blockers keep trying to work around that.


I think that advertisers are just going to have to get over it at some point. Just like they can't control whether I watch the commercials on TV.

I never said that they don't work. I click on ads all the time. I just hate myself for doing it.

No judgement on you, this is just a thing I have trouble imagining in my bubble.
posted by bongo_x at 12:25 PM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think that advertisers are just going to have to get over it at some point. Just like they can't control whether I watch the commercials on TV.

They've fought that hard for decades -- Mr. Rogers single-handedly saved the VCR industry when the broadcasters didn't want people to be able to tape a show and fast-forward through the commercials. And they've regressed to product placement and trickery (there's an Advil commercial that airs every night during Jeopardy! that is set up to look like actual Jeopardy! content, I assume explicitly to get people to stop skipping their DVRs (and it appears to have worked, since I know that it's for Advil)). And note that none of these things has decreased the actual ad stack -- shows are shorter than they've ever been because of the demand for additional ads.

So the advertisers are never going to get over it, they're just going to pile more things onto the things that are blocked.
posted by Etrigan at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2017


I don't think that's quite the same thing. Of course they want us to see ads. Skipping ads on TV is the equivalent of an ad blocker. I understand they don't like it. But even if I don't skip the ads I don't have to watch them. The equivalent would be if I left the room or looked away and the ad froze there until I started watching again.

I think it's an interesting sign of the times. Business advertising has always been to entice people to buy, so part of that has been to draw people into looking at ads. When something doesn't work, try something else that lures people to your product.

Internet advertising has decided to focus on forcing you to view the ad, and if people don't like it forcing it more. And it's mostly an entity unto itself, unconcerned for the most part with shaping your opinion on a product.

There is a weird attitude that comes with all this. We accept that when customers don't like things the business will suffer. Except with the internet, which is always special for some reason. Then it's the fault of the consumer not doing their job properly.
posted by bongo_x at 1:12 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


My standard setup is Ublock Origin, Ghostery and an HTML 5 autoplay disabler ...

Ghostery, uBlock Origin, and uMatrix over here. There's a constant battle with websites to click the things in uMatrix to make it start working just enough, but it's not as bad as it used to be with NoScript, and it's worth everything.

I'm at the point where I use uBlock Origin to delete elements of web pages that won't scroll with the content properly.. (##header banners, etc, social media like boxes, the related content ad-roll on the side, etc.) Even if it's the first time I hit that particular website, I spend the extra 60 seconds cleaning up so that the content is accessible.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:20 PM on June 12, 2017 [4 favorites]


I do the same, XPH, but I can't do that on my phone. Case in point: I just followed a link to a Mentalfloss page. It has a fixed menu bar at the top, a fixed menu bar at the bottom, and the article can be scrolled in between. You can't put the page into reading mode (how do they do that?) and even though I'm holding my phone sideways, they impose a narrow columnar format that only allows about six words per line. Because of the fixed menu bars that makes fifty words on the page at a time, an amount I can read in a couple of seconds.

I think these impositions are because they don't want me to be able to avoid their links to related content. But their formatting makes the actual article pretty much unreadable, and I'm not going to read anything else on their site anyway. I just can't understand their logic here: they've spent a fortune on user-hostile web programming in order to ... encourage people to hang around?

I'm a lost cause, I now reflexively hate design and formatting elements although I acknowledge that they sometimes can be useful. But if you need to force people to use them, you're doing it wrong. And Mentalfloss is by no means the worst: I have seen sites where the fixed menu bars allowed the display of less than the height of one full line of text in landscape mode. Some web designers are just too stupid to live.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:45 PM on June 12, 2017


I have my ad blocker set to allow non-intrusive ads.
Strange that I don't see any ads!!!
posted by Burn_IT at 4:05 PM on June 12, 2017


Man, nothing like taking a break and reading Metafilter while sipping an ice-cold Coca-Cola, no sir.

I do the same, XPH, but I can't do that on my phone. Case in point: I just followed a link to a Mentalfloss page. It has a fixed menu bar at the top, a fixed menu bar at the bottom, and the article can be scrolled in between. You can't put the page into reading mode (how do they do that?) and even though I'm holding my phone sideways, they impose a narrow columnar format that only allows about six words per line. Because of the fixed menu bars that makes fifty words on the page at a time, an amount I can read in a couple of seconds.

When advertising online annoys me, I reach for a cool, refreshing Pepsi that I stole. Then I go to wesaidexclusivesuppliercontractandwemeanit.coca-cola.com and enter my stolen Pepsi photo and credit card number for a chance to win a new iPhone!

But that's just me.
posted by saysthis at 6:52 PM on June 12, 2017


Ads vs adblock has been a battle since the "punch the monkey" banners. And advertisers kept putting in more and more intrusive, annoying, and deceptive ads, while more people installed adblockers.

I think they've hit the tipping point, which is why we're finally seeing serious research about what ads actually bother people. Because they've always known which ads work best - sure, pop-ups annoy, but the few people that don't just X out of them are worth annoying the others.

Only... the existence of adblockers is no longer a secret geek tip. Today's teenagers and college students grew up online, and know "here's how you put the adblock on your laptop, and oh, most of it doesn't work on mobile, so here's how you restrict your mobile activities to the sites and apps that don't annoy you."

And they're still getting hits on the annoying popups from the people who haven't blocked them, still getting people who follow the "5 Secret Weight-Loss Foods That Your Doctor Doesn't Want You To Know About!", still getting clicks on "click here to subscribe to the Make.Money.Fast! email list".... but the number and demographic scope of people clicking isn't expanding. They're not getting into new markets anymore. And they've gotta be realizing that there's an increasing number of people about whom they have very spotty data, who are being Good Little Consumers but without their influence because those people aren't seeing the ads.

(I've finally reach an income level where I have leisure money. I buy Steam games and HumbleBundle ebooks and fannish tea, none of which are influenced by online ads on other sites.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2017


What should their new business model be?

Truly compelling, worthy content that engages my curiosity and respect to the point that I voluntarily click on text-only ad copy. See, for example, Daring Fireball's business model.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:12 AM on June 13, 2017


Why Monetizing Social Media Through Advertising Is Doomed To Failure (part one) (of three) - written in 2008; still very, very valid. Quote from Part 2:
Social media sites, though, aren't places that consumers go to find out information about products and services. They're places that people go to, to create things, interact with friends, chill out, etc. Social media sites have the lowest click-through rates of any category of site on the Internet -- because people who are using social media aren't there to buy, and don't want to get distracted from what they're really doing.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:20 AM on June 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Advertisers don't care if they are pissing you off as long as the ads still move units. They don't care if you hate them, as long as they're getting your money. Says something about our society that people will make a career out of doing things that piss people off, and feel totally OK about that.

As for the whole "well if no advertising, how will the internet pay for itself?" argument, I'm not sure that there would necessarily be any huge loss to society if the web suddenly became a much less profitable place. Most of the stuff that has sprung up on the backs of advertising is frankly garbage, and has led to the corporatization and commodification of what was once a much freer, more DIY type of space. There's more money now, and it's also a whole lot less interesting.

I spend a lot less time on the web than I used to, now that it's all so tightly bound up with money. Especially since I know that advertisers are not just pushing ads into my eyeballs, they're also tracking me, trying to learn about me and build a profile on me so that they can market to me more effectively. That's creepy as hell. And let's not even get into product placement, paid reviews, "brand ambassadors," and all that other even shadier shit.

Advertising killed my youthful dream of the internet. It was supposed to be a beautiful, collaborative space where anyone could have a voice and nobody was privileged above anyone else except on the basis of their accomplishments. It was always a flawed dream, but it's sure a damn sight different from the creepy and exhausting internet we have now where everybody is trying to worm their way into your head whether you like it or not in hopes that they might coax a little money out of you.

Even individuals are brands now—hell, half the hikers on my Instagram feed tag their posts with the brands of their gear, and I've seen "sponsored posts" (i.e. advertisements) from people I follow, trying to boost their follower count so they can get those sweet, sweet sponsorship deals. It's disgusting. There is practically no space for authentic human connection anymore; marketing dollars have poisoned everything.

With the shift to app-based "platforms" rather than websites, it is becoming even harder to keep away from this crap. It's getting to where I barely even care anymore; I have a few things that I use the internet for (often while holding my nose and for lack of a better alternative) but more and more I find myself tuning out, seeking experience elsewhere. The internet has become like the mall; I come here with a specific aim in mind and try to spend as little time accomplishing it as possible, before escaping the mental assault and getting back to my real life with a sigh of relief.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:40 AM on June 13, 2017 [7 favorites]


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