Online ads — we don’t like them but we can’t get away from them. While some are tolerable and even entertaining sometimes, others are irritating and may cause readers to swear off a website for good. It’s not so much what they’re about (although that can be an issue, too) but more of how these ads are presented.
When online ads interfere with content and become so distracting, that’s when they get on people’s nerves. For website owners who don’t avail of paid web hosting services, they have to live with these ads in exchange for free hosting. These are five ways of displaying online ads which can be very annoying:
- Expandable ads. As the name implies, this is the type of ad that expands and occupies a large part or even the entire webpage. Some are activated when you click on it (which is relatively less intrusive) while others automatically expand when the pointer hovers on it (more intrusive and more annoying). How can you not be irritated when you’re focused on staring at photos of dogs wearing a fedora and an expanding ad suddenly invades your monitor? Such a despicable thing should never mess with anyone’s gawking-at-cute-animals moment.
- Interstitial webpage. I had to Google “ads displayed before directed to webpage??? to learn this new word. Interstitial – the name has a grating sound that’s already annoying. You click on a link to another webpage but before you get to view it, the site takes you to an interstitial page displaying ads about cars, insurance, and whatnot. You then have to click “skip ad??? in order to escape from this advertising purgatory. When you click on a link, you expect to be taken there, not to an intermediate page that wants you to buy candle holders.
- Floating ads. These are slightly similar to expandable ads but instead of occupying the entire webpage, they move around your screen and you have to chase them down to close them. There’s also the added challenge of hunting for the “close??? button which is deliberately made difficult to find. If you’re on free hosting, it makes it worthwhile to pay for a web host if only to save yourself from the exasperation of these ads.
- Flashy, animated ads. Unlike expandable and floating ads, these ads stay in their place, usually on the sidebar. They still manage to be distracting though by the attention-seeking animation, much like neon signs that force you to look at them. Whether it’s a row of bouncing smileys or a flashing sign telling you to buy stocks today, flashy ads are a definite eyesore.
- Good old pop-ups. How can we not include pop-up ads on any list of annoying things? They’ve been around for years and they’ve shown no signs of extinction. Fortunately, most browsers have pop-up blockers that spare us from these nuisance but they still manage to get through sometimes.
As long as we want free content, we may never completely get rid of ads. But it would be nice if online ads are well-placed, non-invasive and are more integrated into the overall web design. Here’s hoping.
Kristine Cruz is an online writer and social media junkie. She goes spelunking once in a while to get away from the internet. She’s the brains behind the Twitter account @DomainNameSG.