Before I begin, I want to make one thing clear.
I have no problem with people making money on their blog or website and I am all for people working successfully at home.
But I abhor video ads on websites. I especially abhor the ones that play audio as soon as they start. It drives me nuts when my entire browser freezes up because multiple video ads are launching in a sidebar all at once.
Which means lately I have abhorred even visiting my own site. There were days I literally had to relaunch my browser WHEN VISITING MY OWN SITE because three video ads were all loading at the same time in the sidebar. The same thing would happen to David if he went to my website. We aren’t supposed to get video ads with the ad network I’m a part of, but they slip through and it seems to be happening more frequently.
Last week I was so fed up I yanked them all out of the sidebar and said enough.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been interacting with a lot of different people about the issue of advertising on websites and blogs. It’s been interesting and I decided to synthesize some of those discussions into a post.
Why join an ad network?
I joined an ad network last summer because this website is a business. Some people view their website/blog as a ministry. Some do it for fun. Some do it for a creative outlet. Mine is all of those, but it is a business. If you aren’t familiar with my situation, my husband and I have been self-employed since 2001. He is a graphic designer and web designer. In addition to this site, I write and edit for business clients and also create learning products.
So this isn’t something I do just for fun. It keeps a roof over our heads and food on the table.
I’ve dabbled with advertising off and on since I started blogging in 2005, but never went all-in. I decided to go all in last summer as a way to bring in a more passive form of income. But one thing was clear and I expressed this. I DID NOT want video ads. They slow down your site load time, they are annoying when they play sound, and I know people don’t like them.
However, they are slowly slipping in more and more even though most people who read websites and blogs complain about them. I’ve seen the discussions all over and I have yet to see anyone say they like video ads on sites. They are almost universally disliked.
At the same time, I’ve been told by people in the ad industry that advertisers love them and that we should expect to see more and more of them in the days ahead. It is becoming virtually impossible to opt out if you use an ad service.
Who is the priority?
If you want an interesting read that looks at the various issues surrounding digital marketing, check out 10 digital marketing trends to watch in 2016 and beyond. When I shared it with someone in the ad industry, I pointed out numbers 9 and 10. He pointed out number 4. Obviously there is no consensus on what to do among the professionals in the industry.
But consider that there are three entities at play here – the advertiser, the website owner and the reader.
The ad company is going to prioritize it like this:
- Website owner
They need to keep the advertiser happy above all else because that is how the ad company pays their bills. Yes, they need the website owners as well, but not like they need the advertiser. It all flows from the advertiser.
As a website owner, I prioritize it like this:
- Website owner
Without readers, I’m not a website owner so readers come first. I do put myself above the advertiser in the sense that I have to remain true to my own convictions and what I believe I need to offer my readers.
It’s going to be very difficult to find common ground with those two lists. If advertisers love video ads, then they are going to want video ads and will expect the ad networks to make it happen.
Website owners are going to have to decide where their loyalty lies – with their readers or the advertisers.
The appeal of advertising dollars is real and I’m not condemning anyone who chooses to run video ads on their site. We each have to make decisions. If someone needs to run video ads to feed their children, then I’m not going to fault them for doing so.
But people have made it clear by the extensive use of AdBlocker that they do not want to be constantly bombarded with ads.
And what do you risk losing if you continue to irritate your readers?
In my case, I have other avenues I can focus on that benefit my readers and don’t leave them pulling their hair out.
I’ve not completely abandoned the idea of ads. I still have a few small, non-video ads on my site, but who knows. They may be gone soon as well. It may not be worth keeping them active.
My long-term goal is to sell ad space to companies who match my readers well. I have no problem connecting companies and readers if I believe in what the company is selling. But time will tell.
If you’ve put up with the video ads the past few months and are still here – THANK YOU!!! I have no idea how many people were driven away from my site by ads that wouldn’t let them navigate. I am genuinely grateful you didn’t dump me and move on while I sorted out this issue for myself.
What are your thoughts about advertising on websites and blogs? Do you use AdBlocker? Do you immediately leave sites with video ads? Are you a blogger or website owner struggling with this issue? Please let me know what you think in the comments!