Will Excessive Advertising Discourage Engagement?

In an earlier post I wrote about how marketing on Online Video applications like Hulu and YouTube are golden. This is because ad content is usually kept at a minimal and therefore people actually watch the brief commercials. However, things are rapidly evolving… evolving for the sellers of the ads. Ads are now everywhere on the web, and now may actually be discouraging our engagement level.

I’m an advocate for the open source web. The sharing of content and even programs are done to  increase the value of consumer’s lives. However, at the end of the day these companies do have to make money, but to what degree? I point to Facebook and YouTube to show where it has become too much.

Early on, Facebook started selling ads on their website, but these ads were not entirely obtrusive. These ads used to sit on the right hand side of the screen. They’d have a small thumbnail and a little bit of information of the product/group/person being advertised. This model is fine because if you didn’t want to see the ads, you just didn’t look to the right of the screen. However, for Facebook this made their ads seem less effective. With Facebook going Public they really had to start focusing on profits, and less about the user experience. What are they doing now? People and Businesses can now pay to have their comments/pictures in your feed. So your feed is now contaminated.

YouTube… owned by Google, obviously was bought to start using for it’s significant advertising potential; Over 4 billion video views a day… that’s a lot of ads. YouTube used to have “featured videos” on the top of the right hand side bar. Again, this wasn’t so bad because you could just skip over them if you didn’t want to view the video. Now they have little ads that pop at the bottom of the screen while you’re watching a video, and after viewing X amount of videos you’re forced to watch a commercial. YouTube is a place for us to share OUR videos to the world, NOT for YouTube to monetize on our content. I can’t share a video of my son to my family, or a professional video for clients without Google Ads popping up… these are ads that I did not request, and that I did not endorse.

Where is this bringing us? Over the next few months I’m going to be far less inclined to use Facebook because I know my feed will be contaminated with a lot of posts and comments that I’m not interested in. YouTube is quickly becoming a significant nuisance. For my clients I’m starting to embed all videos into their websites via H.264, and I’m getting close to doing the same for sharing videos with my family.

If these companies can’t figure out a way to make money without getting in the way of our enjoyment of their services they will lose their user base. The User Experience needs to remain the priority. The second that your focus becomes profits, you’ll lose your following.

Posted: April 15, 2012 - Blog

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