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There’s little question in the digital marketing industry that consumer attitudes to advertising are a concern. The rise of ad blocking could be a wake-up call about intrusive, annoying and irrelevant messages—if the industry takes heed.
Matthew B. Crawford, author of “The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction” and opening keynote speaker at eMarketer Attention! 2015, spoke at the event about what it’s like to be a consumer in what some see as an advertiser’s world.
At airport security, for example, the bins for personal items going through X-ray machines are typically lined with ads. It might seem like a good use of otherwise empty space—and surely a placement in that location will be seen by many consumers. But just because you can put an ad somewhere does not necessarily mean you should: Small personal items can easily blend into busy ad creative, and if travelers are not careful they could leave behind a card, thumb drive or other tiny—but critical—personal possession.
Crawford described the situation as one where “it feels like a straightforward conflict between me and [the advertiser], but for some reason [the advertiser] has the TSA on its side.” In situations like that, rather than freely entering a value exchange, consumers are forced to see ads—even to their potential detriment.
“Now I’m at O’Hare, and I’m not feeling very receptive to the messaging on the moving walkway,” Crawford went on. A bad experience with one advertiser and one publisher, in other words, can turn consumers off other placements that may not be as problematic.
Those troublesome ads could be push messages that are irrelevant or intrusive, messaging on social media that consumers find invasive, or a host of other ad formats—not to mention ads on other channels and media. The IAB’s Rising Star display ads may seem less intrusive and annoying to about half of US internet users, but that still leaves significant room for improvement.
Download a free copy of “Perspectives on Attention,” a roundup of articles and interviews created as a companion to eMarketer Attention! 2015.
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