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How Not To Make Your Ads Annoying


One of our work experience students, Khalil, reveals the most annoying advertising traits.

There's a fine line between being entertaining or informative until you become, well, annoying. And once you’ve pressed those irritable boundaries a little too far, you’ve not only lost the attention of your target audience but you’ve got them actively batting you away. Like a wasp, that simply won’t bore off on a hot summer’s day – SO invasive and frustrating. Who’s with me? 

But rather than telling you what you should be doing, we thought it would be more fun to ask our work experience student, Khalil, to out all of the bothersome situations he’s encountered with online ads instead. 

Take it away Khalil; 

Situation 1: Ads with no obvious exit button

Sometimes you’ll be catching up on important celebrity news on the Daily Mail app, flicking through the nearly identical pictures of some reality TV star walking out of the gym and then suddenly an ad appears and you JUST.... CAN’T...MAKE... IT...GO. 

It is soul-destroying. 

The 'X' button that allows people to leave your advert MUST actually work.

Khalil’s rating: Piers Morgan annoyingness levels 

Situation 2: They’re totally irrelevant

The ads that appear on the side bar of websites tend to be based on your browsing history and CAN be useful if you need a little nudge about something you’re planning to buy. But they do not tend to account for shared computers. Then, it becomes a massive pain. It’s also particularly annoying if you just purchased a surprise gift. 

Khalil’s rating: Slow WIFI annoyingness levels 

Situation 3: Ads on video sites which you can’t skip

YouTube has become so commercialised that most of the time you are stuck with a 30 second ad every time you want to enjoy the latest viral animal video. Once is fine, but any time after that is a solid no. 

There is some hope on the horizon however. Google is planning to give you 10 seconds of your life back from 2018, with the 30 second ads on YouTube reducing to 20 seconds. Amazing. 

Khalil’s rating: Screaming baby on a long haul flight annoyingness levels 

Situation 4: Ads that start in the middle of Facebook videos

The suggested/sponsored content on the side of the page and occasional newsfeed post are bearable. Yet ads have started appearing out of nowhere in the middle of videos in the hope that you will want to finish the video more than you want to avoid the advert. 

Khalil’s rating: “Your train’s been cancelled” annoyingness levels 

Situation 5: Snapchat ads at the end of friends’ stories/in the middle of a channel’s story

Advertisers have taken advantage of the popularity of Snapchat. They have taken it upon themselves to tap into yet another audience with ads which appear when you’ve just finished going through your mate’s story or in the middle of a channel, such as Buzzfeed’s story. These will disappear with a quick tap of the screen though, so it isn't too bad. 

Khalil’s rating: “Have you been mis-sold PPI?” annoyingness levels 

And there you have it. It appears that students can get pretty wound up by a lot of ads according to Khalil. 

To stay in their good books, brands targeting students should look to invite them into reading their marketing messages. Try targeting the publications and media channels that have a strong student readership with the aiming of aligning your voice with theirs – sponsored articles do this really well. Most importantly, keep it relevant, engaging and as authentic as possible. 

If you’re looking to carry out some youth media planning, get in touch with us for some free expert advice.