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The Rise of the Users and the Problem With Mobile Ads

In the online world, everyone has a place. We have the developers, either on a website they are building or learning new tricks from somewhere else. Designers, looking to make the world a prettier place and also the marketers and SEO’ers who take the designers and developers work and make it easy for the search engines to read. And then of course we have the users. Though all of us start out as users and most stay as users of the Internet and it’s plethora of knowledge, the others graduate to a little higher knowledge level.

Why Should We Care About the User?

UsersThe importance of the user should never be underestimated, as they dictate how many things should work. They expect things to just work. The problem with the technology space is that everyone who lives in it, doesn’t see things the way an average person will. Normally we are more of DIY’s.  The “shiny” factor plays in more than it should and it absolutely blinds to what an actual consumer would want. And sometimes it takes a company with a deeper interest on how the normal consumer should use technology that they bring some of the tech industry to their knees. Or the smartphone industry in the case of Apples rise to fame. Naturally though as the competition has grown other solutions have come up that offer a similar level of ease of use for the average everyday customer while still having all the options the more technical user wants… ahem, needs.

Translation…

What I am getting at is that one of the biggest smartphone operating systems out there right now is Android. Guess who owns Android? Google. So the biggest online advertising company actually builds this software, distributes it for free, and then makes money from advertisements. Now this is where things take a turn. The only reason developers are ok with these ads in their apps because they need to make money and so they either have to charge for the app or make a free version with advertisements. Which is fine. The side effect of this though is that ads in their current state are intrusive. They just are. The very idea of trying to get something noticed while someone is focusing on other content on a web page or app is difficult to say the least. And to be perfectly honest most of the time especially on mobile I normally hide the ads if I can as soon as I can. I don’t want to see them. They’re not very relevant to me and they just are not easy to work around. Which detracts from the experience of your phone. People don’t like them so much that they usually install an ad-blocker until Google removed all of them because it was starting to cut into business.

So if people aren’t looking at them that’s a problem right? So what needs to be fixed? Well up to date many of the ads that I’ve seen are usually asking me to download other apps.  Asking is putting it nicely. DEMANDING that I download it. I don’t know about you but I don’t tend to respond to that kind of infiltration. Things need to change.

What Can be Done?

Google needs to look at format. There are a few things that need to be looked into. Starting with suggestions. Suggestions are a common mobile tactic to make discovery of new places or things easier. And then focusing on context. The in-app advertisements need context and should be related to common things I search for. These are a few things that I think Google, if implemented properly could benefit from adding. And to all those developers, designers and marketers out there. Always remember what it was like to be a user. If you do forget, that’s when you’ll begin making bad products.