Improving the advertising experience for your users

The internet has been an amazing asset to advertisers. Getting value out of your ad dollars has never been easier. Advertising has also singlehandedly funded most of the services we love. That being said, as a user ads can be one of the more annoying things we come across online. From our time at Grooveshark (former music streaming service with almost 2 billion impressions a month) we learned a lot about how to make advertising as effective as possible while reducing the negative effects on users.

By far the most effective and valuable advertising we did was through direct sold campaigns where the content of Grooveshark was the focus. Samsung ran a campaign for Valentine’s Day where users could send each other songs accompanied by a love note. Bacardi routinely sponsored live DJ sets through Grooveshark’s Broadcast feature.

Glade had us create a custom-branded music-playing widget. In all of these cases, users were experiencing the core features of the site, but interacting with the advertising brand at the same time. The user is happy, the advertiser is happy, and the publisher is happy, but what can you do as a publisher when you don’t directly control the content of the ads on your site?

On top of great direct-sold campaigns Grooveshark had a lot of network display ads. With network advertising, quality can become a huge problem. Many ads run awful, resource-hogging javascript that would cause the interface to feel slow. Even worse, some ads would auto-play video with audio turned on. This is a huge problem on a music streaming website. Complaints poured in to our support team and publicly on Twitter about audio ads playing while people were trying to listen to music.

Our first solution was a “Report Ad” link that rotated the ad when clicked and then prompted the user for why they were reporting it. We got a modest amount of reports and were able to identify and remove a few annoying ads, but continued getting quite a few complaints. After a while, someone had the genius idea of simply changing the text of the link. Instead of “Report Ad” we changed it to “Skip Ad”.

We saw a sudden drop in complaints of advertisements and a sudden increase in people skipping ads. Changing the text made people feel like they now had power over their experience with ads on the site and rather than doing a good deed by reporting an ad, they were simply helping themselves by skipping it. We were not collecting quite as many responses about why an ad was skipped as the feedback step was not required, but this was a fair tradeoff as users were much happier.

Additionally, investment in website page speed has direct benefits for users and is a key factor in your website's Google search ranking. Publishers should check out our tips on how to improve website speed and performance with the Google Pagespeed Insights tools.

Interested in building stronger visitor relationships and revenue? Admiral's Visitor Relationship Management (VRM) platform can help your visitors throughout their relationship with your website.

Privacy consent, adblock recovery, paywalls and subscriptions, registration walls, increased email newsletter signups, and much more. Contact Admiral today.

Schedule a Demo

Get a Free Account Now with Revenue Analytics Dashboard

Get Admiral Free