Matthew Buckland blogged about Moneyweb’s new site the other day so I took a look (I like Moneyweb as a local business new site) and while I like the new design, the flashing banners all over the place gave me flashbacks to a decade ago when flashing banner ads plagued just about every monetised website.
There are three flashing banner ads of varying sizes on the front page when it loads and I can’t help but wonder why we are so intent on having flashing banners? Sure they get our attention but placing a number of them on a site is likely to induce a seizure. A good example of a site that is close to the edge is the Webmail site with nine flashing and rotating banners. I don’t know about you but these sorts of ads really put me off. They are a bit like walking into a book store and having a group of sale people jump out at me constantly pitching a range of products I really have little interest in and which simply distracts me from the reason for my visit – to get some content.
While ads like Google AdSense ads generally have a pretty low yield (unless you have massive numbers of visitors), they can be really unobtrusive and, at the same time, more effective than traditional banner ads because AdSense ads are targetted. They are derived from the surrounding content and provide you with links you are more likely to be interested in. Although online advertising budgets are growing (feel free to correct me), the answer is not a return to the 1990s with their seizure inducing ads. Instead, I think a page should be taken from the AdSense book and less obtrusive and more relevant ads should be placed on sites. Don’t forget the reason people visit the site is to see the content. The ads are distractions unless they become relevant and compelling.