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Since Consumers Still Hate Digital Ads, Brands Should Invest in Better Content

My favorite YouTube video shows a baby panda sneezing. It’s 19 seconds long, so it’s easy to watch if I need a little cheer during the day. However, over time that cheer has been dampened by pre-roll ads that play automatically. Sometimes I can skip them, but there have been a few times I’ve had to sit through ads that were longer than the video itself. That’s why, like millions of others, I started using an adblocker.

Digital ad spending in the U.S. will reach $129.34 billion by the end of 2019, per eMarketer. That number could get as high as $200 billion in 2023. That means many marketers are still following the same old digital blueprint even as the space has evolved.

Another recent study published by eMarketer looked at what type of digital ads annoy consumers the most. The results show that a staggering two-thirds of U.S. consumers thought auto-play video ads with sound were the most annoying. Video ads that play without sound and audio ads also stood out as particularly annoying.

digital ads internet users find annoying

The chart highlights an important split. The intrusive, out-of-nowhere ads with video, audio, or both seems to consistently annoy people the most. But consumers were much less likely to be annoyed by targeted ads specific to interests, behaviors, and past purchases.

It helps for marketers to put themselves in the consumer’s shoes when creating content. Annoyed audiences have gotten used to ignoring digital ads altogether. In order to reverse that trend, content needs to be relevant. We always stress that brands should provide valuable information that can make someone’s life easier or more enjoyable.

That applies to distribution as well. If you force someone to watch or read something they didn’t ask for, that’s the opposite of enjoyable.

The numbers here don’t lie. If businesses are still questioning the effectiveness of their ads and strategies, listening to consumers is a good place to start.

Image by Rich Vintage
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