Just when you thought your mobile screen was getting big enough to have a satisfying user experience with your mobile, advertsing needs you to budge over and make room for them too. It has always surprised me how people claim to dislike adverts but at the same time billions a year are made from distributing them on every available surface that your eyes may care to rest upon. I don’t need to get into the vertiginous numbers that help us imagine the unimaginable scale of mobile and to know ‘the ad men are coming’, but they are paying for some of your favourite mobile experiences and they want to tell you all about life insurance. Even McDonalds has made it onto my screen today.
There is a fascinating relationship between UX and advertising. At a cursory glance it would seem that these two simply can not live side by side in harmony. If UX and advertising broadcast their relationship on facebook it would be ‘complicated’. With adverts it seems we cant live with them, we cant live without them. They pay for so much of what we love, so in one form or another they are here to stay. But with new powerful ad blockers that are finding their way onto mobile networks, this adds another complication to traditional ad models. Adverts currently make mobile UX a slow and awkward business. If mobile users can opt out of all adverts without consequence they will. This now seems to be on the cards with likes of mobile network ad blocking technology Shine who are about to roll out their services.
What seems likely is that giants like Google Mobile Ads will have to start sharing with the mobile networks to decide who sees adverts and how. A distribution of control will probably mean less pop up “2 for the price of 1!” type ads, and more native ads featuring informative articles and info graphics that don’t end with a picture of something you don’t want.
There is one more major problem in filtering out adverts at network level. Remember a short while ago when the good people of the world wide web sat on the edges on their seats, campaigning with every fiber of there just and moral beings to keep the net neutral? Now that’s become law successfully in the US at least, it means that networks filtering out information on this scale it is a big no no. According to Shine this is just academic and I suspect that giving the end users control will smooth out this potential hurdle.
In terms of mobile web content this is yet another strong signal that anyone wanting to make an impact online, needs to be able to have a sustained source of written content. If you are selling fashion, like Net a Porter, ultimately you need your own regularly published magazine where your neglected blog used to be, and to also follow this up with equally impressive offsite content. Your own Youtube channel would not be a bad thing and podcasts are ideal, but if you don’t have a Hollywood sized production budget at hand, words load up quickly onto mobiles and search engines cant get enough of them.