Brand Advertising Techniques

The advertising techniques I discuss here are mentioned as advertisingin my article onadvertising strategy. Here, I want to discuss these in a bit more detail as well as provide sample creative ads from leading brands around the world. Some musicians say that all music has already been written and whatever music is composed nowadays is actually rearrangements of old compositions and melodies. It is similar in advertising as most advertising techniques are not new in themselves but are applied in new and creative ways with new

In looking at advertising, what it boils down to in the most simple of terms is conveying a centralideausingcreativityso as to generate anemotionalreaction and attract the widestattention. The idea is connected with your product or service and is usually a key selling point ordifferentiator. The purpose of your ad is to grab the attention of your audience and leave them with a distinct positiveimpressionabout your offering that they will retain. In looking at the following ad examples showcasing the various advertising techniques I discuss, you will notice thesimplicityandpowerof these ads in conveying a central key idea.

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The most basic of advertising techniques is simply showcasing your product, service or brand name itself in an attractive light. Examples of this are glossy catalog pictures or this Adidas ad. Compared to the relatively drab ordinary world, seeing a bright and shiny product or service ad or logo makes it seem very appealing. With brand promotion, it goes without saying that you need to have a recognized brand name to begin with if that is all you are advertising (note that the Adidas ad contains all sorts of creative tie-ins to sports themes and is not just attractive to look at!).

Another set of standard advertising techniques is to provide your customers with an offer or incentive to buy from you (or toact). Unless you are providing your customers with a foolproofreasonto purchase your product or service, you are really wasting your time if you think about it. A powerful way to do this is to come up with acompellingoffer which makes it hard if not impossible! – for them to resist your sales and marketing message. Offers are often for a limited time in order to createurgencyand common examples are of the buy 1, get 1 free or order now and save 30% variety. Can you think of somethinguniquethat will really appeal to yourtarget customer? Think of what need of theirs you can solve at a low cost that will provide immensevalueand position you as an expert in your field.

The simple act of showing people using your product or service is one of the most common of advertising techniques and is effective in painting a picture for your audience of how they would / could / should use your product or service themselves. People by nature tend to mimic others and just seeing someone using your product is effective persuasion for the viewer to do the same (dont you feel like eating a cake when you see an ad where someone is enjoying one?).

It should go without saying that advertising involves acreative strategyand what I want to emphasize by including this as a separate sub-heading in this list of advertising techniques is that this is what makes the best ads work. If you can think of a creative andmemorableway of communicating your main selling point in aninstantthen you have a winning ad. The moreexciting,funny,ingenious,interesting, the better.

Dont worry if nothing comes to you all at once and it is okay to take inspiration from other creative ad ideas you see if you do not have the budget to hire a top advertising agency (which is the majority of small businesses!). Just think about it from time to time and experiment to come up with new ways of getting your message across visually and with the rightwords.

People like to feel good about themselves and you can effectively market your product or service by utilizing advertising techniques that compliment people for using it. LOral is the worlds largest cosmetics and beauty company and a large part of their success can be attributed to their decades-oldyou-centricslogan Because Youre Worth It which puts the focus on making the customer and not the product special.

Similarly, any number of ads selling cars to deodorants often show how people who use a certain product are hipper and trendier (while those who do not are not!). The message here is simple: you are cool if you use our product and you are not if you dont. As illogical as it might seem that people would buy into such messaging wholesale, they do. If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that a lot of the brands you identify with are because you see them as cool and that they then, by inference, make you look cool (more about this under Being Hip & Making Fun).

Similar advertising techniques aim at otheremotionswithin the complete spectrum of a buyers life by creatingfeel goodscenes of friends and family. Or it may be that you are shown atragicscene like the TV ads of poor children in developing countries that are aired during the holiday season. Other common themes are doing something good for parents / children, being the ultimate spouse, saving the day at the office and many others. These ads use the samedramatictechniques as soap operas and are designed to create an emotional response and attachment to your message (they work, too!).

This is a fancy term for advertising techniques that imbue characteristics oflifeto your product. This is a techniques that is widely used in animation where animals and even inanimate objects like furniture can be made to appearhumanlike. When we see an object exhibiting thebehaviorandemotionsof humans, we form a natural human connection with it. Why not use this concept for products? Well, advertisers have been doing just that for a long time. The famousM&Mcouple is a great example and this ad by Nike comes close by picturing a shoe as a rocket ship which is the same kind of idea (not humanlike, but very cool!).

More common that turning your product into a character is using another character as a mascot for your product or service. There are no ends of advertising techniques that do this using everything from animated characters to real ones. These characters can take on a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors but they all have one thing in common which ispersonality. I have written about the importance of developing amarketing personalityfor your business and the ultimate personification of this is a living, breathing or animated! – mascot who either embodies the positive qualities of your brand or stars in funny or dramatic scenes where your brand message can be played out.

A basic rule of business and life! – holds true for advertising techniques as well and that is that you will be judged by the quality of your ads. Just having a high quality production or an ad where it is obvious that a lot of time and effort has been spent in developing it makes a big impression on your customers and can speak highly of your brand itself. I am not a pro-alcohol person, but you cannot help but be impressed by the presentation of this Bacardi ad, for example. Taking the extra effort and paying the extra few dollars for high quality design, gloss and finish sends the message that you take care of other parts of your business as well which include having a high quality product or service.

We have all seen ads where customers or even actors provide testimonials and references for a given product or service and the effectiveness of these advertising techniques is well known. If you think about it, how much of what you buy is predicated around what others say? As for myself, I always read multiple reviews before going to watch a movie. I am sure you can find many instances where you rely on the reviews and opinions of others before making a purchase. This is one of the reasons behind the power ofviral marketingandsocial media marketing, the fact that many of us would rather trust other people like ourselves than slick branded commercials.

In this age of bigcelebrity endorsements, it is good to note that you dont have to cough up millions of dollars to a star like Justin Timberlake in order to use these advertising techniques. Think of the toothpaste ads that simply say, more dentist use this brand or the Duracell battery ads that provide anecdotal endorsements of everyone from medical staff to scientists to space astronauts who rely on their batteries. In the same way, you can weave endorsements into your advertising by identifying a group of users or a slice of yourmarket segmentthat can be used to sell other customers on the idea that you are the best at what you do.

Anything from a Better Business Bureau logo to this As Seen on TV sticker can add valuablecredibilityto your brand. Arent you more likely to purchase from a website that has multiple references from leading media outlets and security and safe transaction verifications? In the same way, whatever third-party references or referrals you can provide can be advertising techniques to help you convert more leads into sales.

The heart of a product is solving a customerproblemor providing a uniquebenefitand many effective advertising techniques are built around promoting that one simple fact. A lot of great ads create a powerful impact by depicting an extreme scenario that highlights the central problem that a given product solves or value that you provide (better than anyone else!). You can probably think of many examples of this, from pickup trucks hauling extreme weights to air fresheners that brighten colors and bring the whole surroundings to life to drinking a refreshment beverage and getting soaked by an inexplicable outburst of water.

Can you affordnotto? is a powerful question in sales and marketing and is used in advertising techniques that draw on the emotion of fear in order to get your customers to buy. Whether it be saving for a rainy day, insuring against accidents or providing for your familys health and wellbeing, there are no end of ads playing on our basic need to safeguard against negative eventualities. If nothing else, think about what it means to your customers not to deal with thepainthat your product or service provides for and see if you can build a creative advertising strategy around that.

Advertising techniques that incorporateannouncementscan be about anything from new products and improvements to special events, offers and more. Advertising ongoing news about your product, service and company is a standardemail marketing strategyand if you have something reallybigto announce, why not turn it into a standalone ad? Have you ever been tempted to follow up on an ad that announces a Limited Time Offer or a revolutionary breakthrough of some sort or another? It is human nature to want to stay informed and to be curious about new things.

Curiosity can be used in other ways amongst advertising techniques and it is not unusual to see ads that dont seem to advertise anything but rather are stepping stones to something else. For instance, you might see a full page Coming Soon ad in a newspaper that shows brand colors or some other recognizable feature which is then played out in coming days. Movie producers are great at using the power of curiosity to build upanticipationfor upcoming releases. This ad for the movie District 9 does a great job of advertising thethemeof the movie without making any reference to it (apart from the website). You do not need to go to such extremes to create an element ofmysteryandsuspensethrough the appeal of curiosity yourself.

The phrase, join the bandwagon! can be applied to advertising techniques that send the message that everyone else is using a certain brand and that you should be too. Curiosity and the fear of being left behind often compel people to follow up and even purchase because of the psychology that drives this approach. It is a fact that people in general spend a lot of time and effort keeping up with the Jonses, so to speak, and if you are honest you will be surprised to find that a lot of your own behavior is driven by social prerogatives as well.

This is the opposite of the bandwagon approach and is where advertising techniques are designed to make you feeluniqueby purchasing a certain product or service. A simple example are ads that tell you that you will miss long line-ups or get exclusive access (such as rental car service and airlines). This approach also applies to luxury brands that want to make you feel part of anelitegroup. The funny thing is that both techniques work: people want to feelspecialbut also want to feel like they are not missing out on what everyone else is doing. Go figure, human nature!

McDonalds are the king of big logos and prove the notion that advertising techniques incorporating the bigger is better approach can work exceedingly well. Like with everything else in sales and marketing and life! -, one technique cannot provide the answer for every situation and going big does not work for all brands and businesses. However, there is nothing like beingloudin order to attract attention and so as long as you have aqualityproduct or service to back up your advertising, you might looking at finding ways to trumpet your key selling point(s) within the marketplace.

Some people hold that correct sales and marketing etiquette requires that you do notbashyour competition because that makes you look bad. Other companies have grown tremendously by doing just that,taking shotsat the competition with every opportunity. Whichever approach suits you, it is nevertheless always a good idea topositionyourself as better than your competition with regards to your keydifferentiator(s). Whether or not you name your competition outright and whether or not you saying things like, they are a great company that I respect – a standard sales line! -, you should always let your customers know how you are better and this is also something that can be reflected in the advertising techniques you adopt.

Nothing like throwing somenumbersinto the mix in order to spice things up! Remember that when using statistics as various advertising techniques, the moreprecise, the better. So, saying 1 in customer satisfaction is good but saying, 89% of our customers rate our service 10/10 is better. You cannot be the best at everything, but if you are creative, you can often come up with areas where you can apply that sought-after1stamp to yourself. For example, if you are not 1 in your market, then perhaps you are in a certain geography or for a certain product or feature you provide.

A corollary to statistics are advertising techniques that reference studies. You will no doubt have seen many ads that begin with someone saying, Studies show… and then going on to relate a product or service benefit in a relevant way. The cool thing is that you do not have to perform the study yourself in order to benefit from this approach (aha!). Simply find relevant data and include it in your advertising either as a central focus or in passing (e.g. Are you one of the 23% of Americans that suffer from…?).

They say that it takes7 impressionsfor a customer to retain your brand message. That means that a customer needs to see your message or variations of it that many times in order to recognize it and for it to influence him. As well as the actual repetition of your ads themselves during the length of campaigns, these advertising techniques may be applied to your message itself where you repeat key phrases and your value proposition in order to your customer to retain those points. Absolut Vodka has created a dominant brand through its iconic ads which repeats the same imagery idea in endlessly creative ways (like I said, I am not a fan of drinking but, hey, the ads are good!).

Part of what makes successful advertising techniques is relating to thelifestyleandvaluesof your customers with your brand. Being hip is about positioning yourself as asocialnecessity for people within your target audience who want to express themselves to others. Brands like Rayban sunglasses and Doc Martin boots have been successful at appealing to the hip factor and breaking into mainstream success. Can you make your product or service fashionable in the eyes of others so that people will consider you cool?

Where there is cool, there must also be uncool! Some advertising techniques go the opposite route to positioning users of their brand as desirable by making fun of those less fortunate people who do not (as well as making fun of other brands themselves!). You have no doubt seen many of these kinds of ads where anyone from the office nerd to the unseemly neighbor is represented with unattractive qualities that highlight the attractive qualities of brand users. The result is the same: using your product or service is socially desirable. Advertisers want you to believe that only winners use their products and that in fact using the brand itself will make you cool. Can you say something to the same effect in your messaging (e.g. dont settle for less)?

This is a spin of the classic sales technique of giving your customers alternatives, each of which result in a purchase. For example, well trained restaurant servers will ask questions like, Would you like Coke or Pepsi with that? The classic example of this is Henry Fords famous statement about his Model T Ford: you can have it in any color you like, as long as its black. What these advertising techniques boil down to is giving your customerschoiceand making sure you advertise it: Do you want another size, shape or color? Do you want to purchase on finance? Do you want to personalize it? The ideal approach to this line of thinking isdesigningthese features into your product. What you want to do is offer your customers everything that they can find from a competitor (and more!).

The best advertising techniques that employ this method simplytellcustomers what to do in a way that makes refusing seem out of the question (the mediocre ones say things like Call Today! or Order Now! which uses the same method). In some scenarios, an ad can be structured like asales scriptwhere youaskcustomers about their problem and then posit the purchase of your product or service as being the only reasonable course of action if that really is the case. Its almost like saying, if you are suffering from so and so then you would be silly not to buy this. As the very least, think about ways of trying out statements that simplyaskyour customers to buy.

Sometimes you can simply behave as if a customer has already decided to purchase you product and include statements like, Your order will be shipped within 3 business days and We appreciate your business. Essentially, these kinds of advertising techniques communicate with your customer in a way that says, we know you are going to purchase this and that is not even in question. It does not take a degree in psychology to come up with subtle assumptive remarks of this nature within your advertising and a good way of picking up on these is to study ads that you come across yourself on a day-to-day basis. I like the way this Lancôme ad says, Time for Your Gift and assumes the purchase.

Painting apictureof your customer enjoying the benefits of your product or service is a classic sales technique and one of the most powerful advertising techniques as well. Remember that visualization can bespokenandwrittenas well as by using visual images. Phrases like, think about how nice it will be to… and imagine yourself… set the scene for a customer and allow their mind to do the selling for you. It practically impossible not to visualize something that you are told to: picture a sleek, black car streaking along on a dark, moonlit night. What did you just do? See??

The Microsoft ad above under Visualization also demonstrates exaggeration and this Hot Pepper hot sauce ad also shows what I mean by these kinds of advertising techniques. This is a fundamental techniques increative advertising: figure out your key selling point and then create an exaggerated scenario of it in order to hammer the message home instantaneously. There are no end of ads that do this and if you pay attention you will notice how prevalent this advertising technique is. I can think of a number just of of the top of my head including showing a couple of tortoises chatting about Internet speed and one of my favorite ads for Nabob coffee I prefer Colombian Juan Valdez! – which shows a man practically destroying his living room and wringing out an expensive carpet to save a cup of spilled coffee.

Just as you are associating your brand with the ultimate ideal lifestyle and values of your customers, you can also use advertising techniques that associate your product or service with the finer things in life in general (or with anything that you want to). The obscene ad for Bentley I could not help posting above with the other car ads above nevertheless is a powerful image of association by instantly conveying a rich, upper class aloofness that rises above the competitive bickering of the other ads. What kind of things do your target customers like that you can use to appeal to them by associating your brand with those things? It might be something non-intuitive such as referencing exotic vacations in passing if you are marketing to hectic professionals which positions your brand as a break from their busy lives.

Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel according toSamuel Johnsonbut it also sells. To feel an affinity for ones roots and country is natural and to position your brand as such is not a bad thing. Tim Hortons coffee is considered a national brand in Canada and is thought of with a lot of patriotic fondness by most customers. You can see that in in this branding example, Tim Hortons is associating itself with Canadas national pastime (hockey) on Canadas nation TV station (CBC). You can also micro-size your patriotism to fit your local region, culture and tastes.

While this kind of messaging is usually reserved for non-profit organizations and the like, there are advertising techniques through which any business can utilize a similar angle for sales and marketing promotion. The name of the game is to build you brand and if you can do this by providing a valuable and helpful message, then so much the better. You dont have to go out of your way to create an iconic campaign like the popular Got Milk? ads in order to provide a public service message to your customers and the general public. Rather, think of useful messaging around your field or industry which you can provide in advertisements, newsletters and others notices (fantastic examples of these are the famoushouse adsby advertising genius David Ogilvy where he gave away the secrets of advertising in order to show his firms own expertise).

This is another common practice among advertising techniques where you link your brand to the support of an organization, cause or event in order to promote your own brand in doing so. Most Fortune 500 type companies have one or more charities that they publicly support and it is not unusual to see corporate sponsorship branding on everything from sporting events to TV shows to most any other high-publicity event (wherever there are lots of people, you will find lots of commercial interest!). Can you find a local group, organization or event to support? You dont have to go out of your way and invest a huge budget in order to do this effectively: what about a simple homemade banner at your local Little League baseball games?

Emotionis at the heart of what makes advertising techniques successful and so you could say that this is a vital ingredient that applies to any kind of advertising. Unless you can create an emotional reaction within the person who views your ad, you will not make a lasting impression on them. Creating dramatic situations is one way of doing this and you will no doubt be familiar with many ads that do this, from TV ads showing family emergencies to creative print ads that showcase a dramatic scene within the lives of typical customers. How can you create drama around the problem you solve or the benefit you provide? It does not have to be negative but can bepositivedrama as well, such as incorporating a success story or image into your ad to showcase your value.

Having metaphors, similes and allegories incorporated into your sales and marketing communications means the kinds of advertising techniques that compare using your product or service to something positive in order to make a favorable impression. What that long sentence means is that you can simply come up with creative ways to show how nice or beneficial your product is and leave it at that. Its like a kid holding their hands far apart and saying, I love you THIS much! Just finding a creative way to say how great you are bypasses the need to talk in detail about your product, service or the benefit you provide.

The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques

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The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques

Summary:Modal ads, ads that reorganize content, and autoplaying video ads were among the most disliked. Ads that are annoying on desktop become intolerable on mobile.

In 2004, we wrote about themost hated advertising techniquesbased on research conducted byChristian Rohrerand John Boyd. Online advertising has changed significantly since then, giving us plenty of new formats to test and new questions to ask. With that, we decided to run a study to determine which advertising techniques are most disruptive and detrimental for the modern user experience.

We 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.

Wireframes were presented for both desktop and mobile variants of the same ad, when possible. If there were no common or practical implementations of an advertisement type on mobile, only the desktop variant was shown. We used wireframes instead of screenshots as our stimuli to avoid influencing users with the ads visual design, message, or brand. The wireframes focused peoples attention on the ad format.

The advertisements within the wireframes were bright purple for easy identification and contained placeholder text reading, This is an advertisement. The wireframes also had accompanying explanatory text to provide more context. The table below shows the types of ads used in the study and the corresponding explanatory text presented to participants.

ModalThis ad appears on top of a sites content when you go to the site. The ad must be closed before you can interact with the site content.

NonmodalThis ad appears on top of the content as you visit a site, typically in the lower right corner of the page. It stays in place as you scroll through the site.

Persistent banner (top of content)This ad appears at the top of the page without blocking content, and stays in place as you scroll. It is locked to the top of the browser window.

Persistent banner (bottom of content)This ad appears at the bottom of the page and stays in place as you scroll, locked to the bottom of the browser window.

Intracontent (with content reorganization)As the page loads, the advertisement appears and moves existing content down.

Intracontent (without content reorganization)This advertisement appears within the main content of the website.

Right railThis advertisement is located on the right side of the page.

Right rail (animated)The advertisement is located on the right side of the page, and it flashes to get your attention.

Prevideo (no skip)When you play a video on a website, an advertisement plays first.

Prevideo (with skip)When you play a video on a website, an advertisement plays first, which you can skip after 5 seconds.

Autoplay video (with skip)This video advertisement starts playing automatically when you arrive at a website, followed by video content from the website you are visiting.

RetargetingYou shop for an item online. Later, you see advertisements for that same item or company on other websites.

Sponsored social media contentThis advertisement appears in your feed on a social media site.

Related linksThese ads appear at the bottom of an article as related links.

Deceptive linksYou reach a website where you need to take an action, such as downloading a file or running a test. Near the links to download are other similar links, which are advertisements.

After the participants rated all 23 wireframes, they were presented with anopen-ended questionto elaborate more about the types of advertisements that they particularly liked or disliked. These responses were coded according to type or characteristic of the advertisement (i.e. if additional action was required to dismiss the advertisement, or if it could be dismissed right away a distinction that we cover later in this article). We extracted patterns from these responses, and revealed specificuser requirements for online advertising.

In the following analysis, we reportad dislike,which is a number from 1 to 7 (1= strong like, 7 = strong dislike) that directly reflects participants ratings. The overall average score for all ads was 5.23. This number shows that our respondents arent rabid haters of advertising per se. The overall feeling is slight annoyance; but thats the average. As well see, certain advertising formats irk users much more and do cross into hatred territory.

An ANOVA on ad type and device showed that people hate mobile ads more than they hate desktop ads (desktop average of 5.09 vs. mobile average of 5.45; this difference was statistically significant at p 0.0001). The effect of ad type (discussed later) was also statistically significant (p 0.0001).

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.

To understand how ads compared with each other, we ran multiple comparison tests (using Tukey contrasts). We found that, for most advertisement types, the mobile and the desktop counterparts did not differ significantly, with the exception of related links and the prevideo advertisement (p 0.0001). For the desktop prevideo ad, users could skip the ad, whereas that wasnt possible with the mobile variant because most native mobile video players do not allow users to skip ads or click on video annotations. Thus, this finding makes it difficult to determine whether it was the mobile condition or the lack of ability to skip the ad which made the ad more annoying. On the other hand, related-links ads were significantly (p0.05) more disliked on mobile than on desktop, and that difference can reliably be attributed to the device on which they were presented.

The Tukey contrasts indicated that the top four most hated ads on desktop did not differ from each other significantly, but did differ significantly from all the other ad types (with one exception: deceptive links was not different than top persistent banner), so it would be fair to say thatthe winner for most hated ad type on desktop is a four-way tie between modal ads, autoplay video ads, intracontent ads which shuffle page content as they load, and deceptive links that look like content but are ads. Pro-tip: dont run these types of ads if you want people to like you.

As for the ads that were hated the least on desktop: the ratings for nonanimated right-rail ads and related links did not significantly differ from each other, but were significantly lower than all the other types of ads. Running such ads should be safe and not damage users brand loyalty.

Another notable finding is that there was no difference in annoyance between the two types of persistent banners (top and bottom). Not surprisingly, animated right-rail ads were rated as more disliked than nonanimated ones.

On mobile, the hierarchy of ad dislike is more complicated.The most disliked ads were modal & intracontent ads with content reorganization these were rated significantly higher than all other ads (with the exception of prevideo without skip and deceptive links).

Related links was the clear mobile-ad winner: it was rated as least disliked and differed significantly from all other ad ratings.

Prevideo ads (with no skip option) and deceptive links were rated significantly worse than sponsored social media and related links, but were no different than any other links. And although the average rating for top persistent banners was higher than for bottom persistent banners, this difference did not reach statistical significance.

Related links were significantly less disliked (p0.001) than any other mobile ad type. They are the only advertising format we deem to be completely safe to use on mobile devices.

We received 330 open-ended responses. Any comments that did not have specific information about advertisements or an opinion toward them were considered unqualified responses and were eliminated from our dataset.

Of the 330 open-ended responses, 232 were qualified responses which were coded to indicate the ad attribute that the participant mentioned (e.g., obstructed content, animated ad) and the affect expressed by the comment (e.g., positive, negative). For example, if a participant indicated she didnt mind, or was okay with ads about products Ive looked at already, we coded the response affect as positive and the ad attribute as retargeting ads; or, if a participant indicated that he didnt like ads that pop up and cover the screen, we tagged the comment affect as negative and the ad attribute as obstructing content (since we did not know if the participant referred to nonmodal ads partially covering the screen or to modal ads fully covering the content). Naturally, some respondents had more to say about ads than others, and each ad attribute that was mentioned was tagged in the response.

We then looked at all positive and all negative responses, and broke down the totals into attributes that were tagged. In total, we identified 15 different attributes; these overlapped with some of our ad types.

Most of the ad attributes mentioned were associated with a negative affect only, receiving no positive comments. A few exceptions stood out:

Right-rail and related links received a majority of positive comments.

I like ads that do not obstruct content. I can glance to the side and decide if I want to open but am annoyed when I dont have that choice.

I am fond of links to the side and at the end of my pages. I cant tell you why, but I like them and am much more likely to click on them and check them out than anywhere else.

Banner ads, ads that could be dismissed through a user action, and video ads that could be skipped received some positive comments, although most of the comments were negative in affect. The distinction here is that users positively viewed advertisements which could be skipped or ignored, in which they had control. However, users negatively viewed advertisements which forced an interaction, thereby delaying access to primary content. Perceived control seemed to be the influencing factor over affect.

or flash for attention just make me hate the product being advertised.

Video ads before a video you want to watch are okay as long as they are short and give you an option to skip after so many seconds.

Retargeting ads had mixed results while 64% had negative affect, a large proportion commented that these ads were useful and relevant. The others complained that these ads were no longer useful or otherwise that they were creepy and, in some cases, ruined surprise gifts.

And I know lots of people think its creepy to have ads show up with items youve been searching for, but I like it!

I always find it unnecessary when I see ads for the exact product I was searching, it would be better if they showed similar products instead.

I HATE that something you searched for pops up later on other websites. Way to ruin Christmas!

The ads that generated most positive comments were those which did not look like ads or were related to the users primary task. Participants spoke favorably about advertisements which blended in with content, like social media and prevideo ads (with skip). Sponsored social media ads tend to be displayed amidst other posts, formatted nearly identically, and prevideo advertisements were expected and tolerated (if they were not autoplay videos, and could be skipped). However, its important to note that deceptive links were vehemently disliked andnot trusted for their lack of upfront disclosure. Its a delicate balance to utilize these findings for advertising creatives: design to blend in without being deceptive.

Advertisements tend to be received more negatively on mobile devices than on desktop. One reason may be the relatively larger footprint that ads have on mobile screens: limited real estate exacerbates the existing usability problems found on desktop. Additionally, the context of mobile use tends to be on-the-go that is, users are more likely to be distracted by competing stimuli and the need for efficiency is drastically increased.

With that in mind, what makes an ad annoying on desktop will make it intolerable on mobile.

Some things dont change users expectations, in particular. The popups of the early 2000s have reincarnated as modal windows, and are hated just as viscerally today as they were over a decade ago. Automatically playing audio is received just as negatively today. The following ad characteristics remained just as annoying for participants as they were in the early 2000s:

While, as a whole,web usability has improvedover these past several years, history repeats anddesigners make the same mistakesover and over again. Designers and marketers continuously need to walk a line between providing a good user experience and increasing advertising revenue. 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, its time we start to take them seriously.

If youd like to see these wireframes in more detail, or even use them for your own studies, Nielsen Norman Group reserves rights to these images, but grants your permission to use them or even modify them, as long as you credit us with the original research and reference this study. Below, you can find a .zip file which contains the following:

– PNGs of all the wireframes used during this study- A PPT which contains the base elements used to create the wireframes- A ReadMe.txt, which contains copyright information about how you can use these wireframes

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