When you’re starting out at a new job, there’s always an adjustment as you get used to the many sounds of the new office. There’s the loud talker, the computer reactor (laughs at every gif, gasps at every Tweet), the person who snacks every hour of every day…and that’s not including the noise of the air conditioner and the photocopiers and phones going off all day.
For the first few days and weeks in a new work environment these distracting noises are just that: a distraction that can impact your concentration and your ability to accomplish the tasks at hand. Over time, however, you get used to your environment. Distractions slip into the background until, one day, you don’t even realize they’re there.
The same could be said for the adverts we see—or don’t see—when we’re online.
“Banner blindness” is a long-known web user behavior. The term describes people’s tendency to ignore page elements that they perceive ( whether correctly or incorrectly) to be ads. As online users’ eyes became trained to ignore banner ads, some advertisers have reacted by making ads bigger and flashier in an attempt to combat the wasted billions of dollars being pumped into standard banner advertising.
Looking back on the last decade of online advertising, one trend becomes clear: as online ads became bigger, flashier, and more invasive, the popularity of installing ad blockers soared. Online users wanted to have greater control over their online experience, especially over the ads they did or didn’t wish to see. As public perception of ad blocking as a ‘positive’ began to grow, and users became more aware of issues surrounding of data privacy, advertisers scrambled for new tactics to circumvent blockers and deliver their messages to millions of eyeballs worldwide.
Think “ad awareness” not “banner blindness”
At Acceptable Ads we take a different approach. That’s why we support the Acceptable Ads Standard.
Rather than being flashy and invasive, Acceptable Ads are respectful and nonintrusive. For an ad to be classed as “acceptable,” it needs to follow the standards that have been set by the independent Acceptable Ads Committee. Critically, communities across the globe are using the Acceptable Ads standard to deliver their messages to over 200 million users worldwide. Acceptable Ads helps create a fairer and more profitable web for all parties in the value exchange– advertisers, publishers and online users alike.
And, maybe most significantly, this also tells us that over 200 million online users are in no way ‘“banner blind.” Instead, they’re most likely simply tired of being bombarded with invasive advertising formats.
Ad aware users
Instead of labeling online users as “banner blind,”we encourage advertisers to think of this huge potential audience as being “ad aware.” Acceptable Ads data shows that users of ad blockers are much more interested in filtering ads than blocking all ads indiscriminately.
Users of ad blockers have two options: to filter out ad formats they dislike or to opt out of filtering and block all ad formats. And 5-7% of users choose to opt out and block completely. This underscores the fact that users accept ads as long as those ads are delivered in a respectful, non-obnoxious fashion.
And not only do users accept these ads, they use them. Banner ads still work. Providing that advertisers deliver creative ad formats that don’t negatively disrupt users’ browsing experience, and instead focus on creating positive experiences, targeted banner ads are proven to be highly effective in boosting a brand’s perception.
This the way forward for online advertising. Only through gaining a better understanding of the motivations, browsing habits, preferences and requirements of “ad aware” users will we be able to deliver a win-win for everyone in the digital ads supply chain.