When It Comes to Ads, Sometimes Less is More, Says Author of Book on Advertising

word cloud - advertisingAdvertisers and consumers may have a lot of common interests, but that mutuality is being strained today.

That’s the thinking of Matthew B. Crawford, the author of “The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.” A keynote speaker at the eMarketer Attention! 2015 conference, Crawford believes web users are turned off by a host of ad placements they find intrusive, distracting, or even inappropriate.

While ad blocking is one defense, there are other practices that Crawford says are counterproductive for which consumers have no recourse.

“At airport security, for example, the bins for personal items going through X-ray machines are typically lined with ads,” explains Crawford. “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.”

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 said.

In other words, what some advertisers do can give the whole industry a bad name.

“A bad experience with one advertiser and one publisher, in other words, can turn consumers off other placements that may not be as problematic,” notes eMarketer.