I try to read the news everyday. I’m interested in what’s going on around the world and in my community and I like to be informed.
However, this week I was browsing through Google News and I came across a technology article. This particular article was about how Apple is building solar farms to run it’s new campus that it’s building…an $850 million dollar project. So I clicked on the article only to find this… (Click on the screen shot to open in another window to see the full image as this is just a snapshot as the page was big).
Now, when you’re looking around on this page, what do you see? A lot of green and red arrows (that was me marking up the page for these purposes). But do you see a lot of ads?
How Much is Too Much Advertising?
If you open up the full image (by clicking on it), you will see the page is HUGE. There is SO much going on with the page, that the story almost gets swallowed up.
I understand that there are people who look at this design and think that it’s fine. However, I don’t.
This is a news agency. The whole model behind there business is to get people to read their paper/magazines/articles. And yes I understand that they have to pay their bills and workers and the way that they do it is by selling ads. But they need readers to keep coming back. It’s doesn’t do them a lot of good if people will never come back to their site.
However, if I get to that page and get distracted by everything else that’s going on around the article (where I never even get to read what I came to read), then that’s a problem for them.
Let’s start at the beginning.
The minute I clicked on the link to get to this page, it took FOREVER for the page to load. Let’s examine why that is shall we?
3 Videos… Are You Serious?
If you look on the right hand side of the image, there are large red circles that I added to it. These large circles are around video advertisements. And on the entire page, there were three videos that we’re trying to load and then all play at the same time.
Now I don’t have a slow computer by any stretch of the imagination, but my computer started to freeze up because it was working so hard to download the page, download the videos, and play all of the videos at the same time. Not a great experience.
It took about 10 seconds before the window would unfreeze so that I could even scroll down the page.
With the average website visitor staying around for less than 3 seconds, then it would be a miracle if they were to have good conversion rates with anyone who visited this page.
And don’t even get me started on auto-play videos. Nothing worse than working in an office and all of a sudden the video starts blaring and everyone around you can hear it. If I want to watch it, I will. If I don’t, don’t force me to do it… especially on a news site. I’m there to read the news, not watch videos.
Next, I can barely find the article on the page. There are WAYYYYY to many ads. Throughout the entire page, there are 19 ads (marked by the green arrows). Do you think that 19 advertisements is too much advertising?
That is 19 different ways to get me off of your website and onto something else. And that’s if I happen to survive the horrible load time of the website.
Not to mention that I was looking at the picture in the article and they had a scrolling ad that was stuck right in the middle of the page (image below). They didn’t have enough advertising around the edges of the site, they felt the need to put it right in the way of what I was viewing.
Give the Visitor What They’re Looking For
The idea is to give the visitor what they want. If they don’t get it, they are leaving and never coming back… especially since it was such a bad experience.
Look at Google. The idea is to get people to their website, have them type in what they’re looking for and then serve them an answer to what they typed in.
If Google was not serving you the information you were looking for, they would not be one of the biggest companies in the world. If I was looking for a car and they served me up a bunch of websites about snow mobiles, I would never go back. But I always go back because I know they will give me what I want and they will do it accurately and quickly.
When I go to a news site, I’m going because they lured me in with a good headline or an interesting story. I’m not going there to feel like I’m at a billboard convention. I want to find the news that I wanted to read. Give me what I’m looking for.
Once again, I understand the need for news institutions to make money off of advertising but I would LOVE to see the split testing results that they have for a layout like that. It almost looks like someone in their advertising sales department just told their web designer… “We need more ads! We need more ads! Nope…not enough ads! We need more ads
I mean…19 ads. 19 ways that you can scare me off of your website to never come back. Oh, did I mention that this particular article was only 345 words long? Let’s see, 345 words long with 19 ads. That’s 1 advertisement for every 18.2 words.
This sentence Right Here is about what 18 words looks like on a news website you might visit. BAM! ADVERTISEMENT!
So keep it simple. Even if you count on the revenue for your business, there are still more profitable ways of advertising than bombarding every single visitor. Now I know that they’re not going to miss just me if I don’t ever go back to their website. But I also know that I’m not the only one who thinks this way.
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