Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding graphical ads, part of User Experience for Web Designers.
- If you watch iTracking study output for pages with adverts on them, you'll find that people don't always spend much time looking at the ads. Additionally, even if their eyes rest on the adverts, they tend to ignore the content. It's as if our brains, once they've seen the ad, manage to censor it, so that it doesn't register consciously. Obviously that's led to a bit of an advertising arms race, with some ads doing more and more to try and grab your attention, either by flashing and blinking, or by making outlandish statements, about how much money you just won for being the notional ten thousandth visitor. Or by using hooks, like the one weird trick ads, for everything from reducing your waistline to saving on your mortgage and insurance.
Even sneakier is the sponsored content style ad, which is formatted to be more like a group of news articles. The reason that these ads frustrate your visitors, is because they take them off task. They have the impression of being part of the site, and it's not until people click through on them that they realize they've been duped. Nobody feels good about being duped, and the person they blame is you, the site creator, rather than the ad provider. And the thing is, people still manage to ignore most of these ads. The ones they can't ignore just frustrate them. That's the real danger. If people get frustrated when they come to your site, then it's going to reduce the likelihood they'll return.
So what's the answer? Well, rather than trying new tactics to get people to look at the ads by making them bigger, brighter, flashier, or more of a tease, just make sure that they're relevant. That means make sure that the advertisements are for goods that relate to the same interest as the site content. Sure, the relevant ads might not be offering the same returns as the generic flashy ads, but what you might find is that for however much they lose in revenue per click, they make up for in number of actual clicks. Of course this means that you need an ad serving engine that allows you to do very specific targeting.
You might need to experiment with a couple of different services before you find one that will meet your needs. You might also need to specify ad types not to show on your site, in order to keep things relevant. When you give your visitors relevant adverts, you're actually doing them a favor. Most people now grudgingly understand that they're getting free access to your content in return for being shown adverts. They're more likely to look favorably on your site if the ad content at least corresponds to the site's content.
User experience expert Chris Nodder teaches
- What people want from websites, how they search for information, how they read online, and how to structure your content to take advantage of this research
- How to use graphics to help rather than hinder visitors, how to integrate video, audio, and other media, and when to consider interactive rather than static content
- How to look at your site's homepage, forms, product pages, and content through the eyes of users to build a site that better meets their needs
- How to balance site content with advertising
There are never enough great interfaces in the world. Take this easy introduction to start making wonderful online experiences for your own users.
- Building a site visitors will like
- Using single, consistent, and standard design principles
- Creating good menus
- Working with site maps
- Adding search to a site
- Arranging content in a layout
- Writing for the web
- Creating category pages and landing pages
- Designing product pages and forms
- Using media and interactive content
- Balancing ads and content