Content Marketing Blog

How annoying ads cost you website traffic

Placing ads and calls-to-action on web pages has always been a delicate balance. You want people visiting your website to have a positive and enjoyable experience, but you also want to maximise your chances of achieving a conversion.

Even sites that are set up primarily as a tool for generating leads need to avoid going to the extreme, as ramming forms or special offers down the throats of your visitors is unlikely to create a favourable view of your business.

Anecdotal evidence and a number of separate pieces of research have shown that overdoing the hard sell can put people off and lead to higher bounce rates.

A study published last month in the Journal of Marketing Research, for example, found a strong link between “annoying” ads and negative stats for the websites that publish them.

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“The practice of running annoying ads can cost more money than it earns, as people are more likely to abandon sites on which they are present,” the authors said. “In addition, in the presence of annoying ads, people were less accurate in remembering what they had read.”

That last point about how well people retained the information will be particularly relevant to content marketers.

When you create content for your website you hope people will enjoy and find useful, the last thing you want is for an over-zealous marketing message to ruin all your hard work.

[pullQuote position=”left”]”In the presence of annoying ads, people were less accurate in remembering what they had read”[/pullQuote]

It’s important to remember that as well as achieving quick conversions (prospect reads an article and then clicks on a sign-up form, for example), content marketing is also about building familiarity and trust with potential customers.

Providing useful and helpful content increases the chances of people turning to you the next time they want what you sell. That whitepaper they downloaded, the blog post they remember reading or the how-to video they enjoyed might just be the trigger that has them come to you rather than an unfamiliar competitor.

This longer play is at risk of being undermined if visitors don’t remember anything about your website apart from the garish ad that hit them over the head until they clicked back to their search results.