The Four Elements of a Good Advertising Experience

on The Future of Advertising

Up until very recently, the modern advertising industry was built on the idea of making consumers interact with messages they didn’t want to see: breaks in the middle of their favorite shows, a page in their magazine of choice.

In 2017, now that advertising is largely digital (and within that, mobile) the driving tenet is no longer successful interruption but positive experience. Why hold someone’s eyes and make them do something when they’re just trying to watch or read something else, when now you can match your message to the context of their experience and find them when they’re ready for what you have to say?

That is why native ads are so much more preferred by consumers to banners and pop-ups, a 176% preference lift to banners and a whopping 1,833% lift in preference over pop-ups, according to our research.

At Sharethrough, we define a good advertising experience as having the following four components.

A good user experience is *efficient*

Efficiency sits at the intersection of simplicity and speed.

And in today’s chaotic and often overwhelming world, efficiency is key. Not only do users expect their offline and online experiences to be efficient, but oftentimes aren’t even willing to wait an extra millisecond to engage... with anything. Amazon saw that for every 100 milliseconds of extra load time, sales decreased by 1 percent.

The majority of us understand this concept when it comes to software development: we’ve heard terms like UX and UI thrown around enough times to understand the importance of how digital experiences are designed. But marketers do not give enough attention to thinking about it. They need to pay close attention to how their ad experience is designed and how that experience might influence the consumer interacting with it.

A good user experience is *respectful*

Respect is the cornerstone of native advertising. This is what has made native advertising such a market force over the last several years. A user can engage — or not to engage — with a native ad, unlike more invasive approaches like pop-ups and pre-roll ads that interrupt and steal attention.

Last year we surveyed Millennials to see how they’re engaging with content. Forty-one percent of them said that brands that used in-feed native ads were more respectful of their online experience.

From a brand’s perspective, respect is about being confident in the fact that your messaging is genuine and that someone will find it valuable.

A respectful user experience provides users with a choice. It’s important for brands to offer an easy way to opt out, like a convenient “unsubscribe” button on an email newsletter. Look at it this way: why would you want to force a conversation with someone who isn’t interested? The ability to disengage is key. Eighty-four percent of Millennials we surveyed appreciated having the option to scroll past an auto-playing video if they’re not interested in the content.

A sense of choice creates mutual respect between the consumer and the brand and paves the way for a marketer to genuinely influence consumer behavior.

A good user experience is *influential*

When an ad experience is seamlessly executed and the content is consumed without force (which are the divining principles of native), something interesting happens to the ad... stops being an ad.

Suddenly, that same paid brand message transforms into ‘consumer content’: curated and carefully chosen by the consumer themselves.

Eighty-five percent of Millennials surveyed by Sharethrough said that in-feed native ads are the same or better than editorial content on the page. This means the brand’s participation with the content is not thought of in a negative way.

In fact, 47 percent of millennials said they would be more open to learning about products if brands were to use in-feed native ads. And 38 percent of Millennials said that in-feed native ads make them more likely to purchase the brand featured in the content.

A good user experience is a positive *customer experience*

Pioneering global brands like Apple, Disney, and Starbucks seek to optimize the customer experience for even the slightest and most mundane interactions, from product packaging to customer service.

Advertising is an overlooked but still equally crucial component of a positive customer experience. If you’re exhaustively ensuring every element of the physical journey is satisfying for a consumer, why risk that investment with lazy and annoying ads online?

Ads are often a customer’s first touchpoint with a brand, and if their experience with that ad is negative — if the ad is obnoxious or overly interruptive — it can damage the customer’s perception of the brand in a significant way. Brands that are invested in good customer experiences should be equally invested in creating good ad experiences.