Perhaps one of the biggest gripes for people using the internet are pop-up ads, particularly ones that suddenly spring into life and take over your screen. For me it always feels like an incredibly self-important person has decided to rip your newspaper from your hands before trying to engage you in an unrelated conversation at the top of their voice. In other words, very, very irritating!
You can only assume that this type of ad works very well for some companies, because they must also realise how intrusive it is. The benefits must somehow outweigh the negatives, but at times it is difficult to see how.
The worst offenders appear to be local newspaper web sites and online versions of magazines. Perhaps this is just a perception heightened by the fact I’m trying to read a lengthy-ish piece of writing when suddenly the screen turns orange and suddenly I’m being sold an energy drink. Surely it’s in both the host website and the advertising company’s interests not to induce rage in the reader? Clearly not.
Some people may argue that the set-up is little different than a film on a commercial channel being stopped every 20 minutes for an ad break. I can certainly see that point of view, but there have been several decades of conditioning allowing us to get used to that particular trade-off. Plus, watching a film or TV programme is a much more passive activity than reading. Nobody likes being interrupted when reading. Nobody!
Advertising agencies really do need to be more creative than relying on this awful technique for grabbing a reader’s attention, because it is potentially doing more harm than good to their industry, even if the short-term profits are there. More people are becoming tempted to install pop-up ad blockers to their search engine, and that can’t be a good thing for revenues coming into online media long term.
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