Moving forward with UX ads – by Disruptive Media’s Terence Roane

by Terence Roane, managing director, Disruptive Media

Does the recent response to Netflix ads indicate that we have finally had enough of interstitial and pre-roll ads?

There’s been an ever-growing sigh from us all due to the repeated interference of ads when we have that spare moment to view content. But, now after years of tolerating them, are we starting to finally say, enough is enough?

There was a recent survey conducted by mobile survey platform LoopMe that, from 2,922 surveys answered, 36 per cent said that they would cancel their Netflix subscription if it became ad funded. This spoke extreme volumes to me because even with a much-beloved platform that kept many of us entertained during the pandemic, (our most trying time in recent months/years), the response to ads was a huge break-up. 

As a marketing professional, I’ve seen clients increasingly exclude incentivised ads and I can see a shift in more clients implementing greater ad restrictions on forced media. So where does this leave us in the future? 

Going back to the Netflix survey, I can’t help but conclude that the way pre-roll ads have been interrupting our content to date with constant retargeting and irrelevant broadcasting of products/services we don’t need while trying to watch a cooking video for Sunday’s dinner, is the culprit. Why haven’t we found a better way to ensure a less interrupted way of advertising? The same applies to mobile display marketing, where we spend much of our time. Why are we still faced with huge interstitial ads which we can’t wait to remove so we can go back to what we were reading in that quick 5 minutes we have before our next meeting?

The stats say that interstitial ads are one of the most effective banners you can buy, this is measured by viewability and click-through rate. However, the volume of accidental clicks that occurred and less than 5 seconds of display time through users trying to remove the ads are increasingly high – thus skewing the results. Being involved in such performance media buys, I can honestly concur – there needs to be more innovation.

User Experience (UX), is something we find at the height of all technology we use and buy, so why hasn’t it taken the forefront in the content we view which contains advertising? 

UX ads are the way forward, working with content and making ads more enjoyable to consume must be the future, as advertising helps support valuable free content. Betterads.org are a brilliant advocate of this statement and if we are to see loved platforms like Netflix succeed in the future, hopefully, they don’t follow the path of the past/present and work on delivering their brands and users a better ad experience that delivers a campaign the user actually makes a connection with.