I've worked for several media and newspaper companies in London... top of the list would be Guardian, Daily Mail, Metro and Local World. Their digital newspapers thrive on the revenue from Ads and they do invest and spend quite a bit of money into getting these Ads into their web pages.
At one of these newspapers, I had to put my foot down and scream some sense into the people approving and demanding these Ads. Some of these Ads were threatening to both the readers and the engineers who build the pages.
Look at bristol post and metro some of the readers protested not to read
the pages unless certain ads were removed or taken off. What ads you
ask? Engaging Ads. Ads that play videos when you interact at a hotspot
and Ads that take over your entire screen and flash bright colors in
your face. While the engineers struggled to keep the integrity of the layout (which is a decade old poorly written html mark up. No one wanted to or was ready to overhaul this beast.
So why do sites allow Engaging Ads? They're big money. On an average, these Ads were roping in about 5 times more revenue than all the other Ads combined. No free content publisher site is going to pass on that. And so they forced it to play somehow... using underhanded dirty tactics. It was a dark day in hell for my mouse cursor and my finger (on touch devices)
The solution I proposed was (since, you know... bureaucracy), to give the user a heads up about these Ads. These were some of the suggestions at the end of my research on Engagement Ads and several complaints and protests.
- First was to move the engagement Ads away from the main content area
and remove all booby traps
- Give the user a notice on their next visit about the new Engagement
Ads and ask for consent.
- If they are against the Engagement Ads, we hi-light them on the
screen and they could avoid them. (ofcourse removal was not an
With a little bit A/B testing I was able to produce some numbers for the big rats and send it for a vote. But it was rejected. (for the morbidly curious) I tendered my resignation later that evening.