It seems like more and more news websites are moving to interstitial ads (also known as splash screen ads) as a revenue source. I understand that they have to make money, but there are better ways to do it. It’s an annoying form of advertising that hijacks the user’s attention like a bait-and-switch tactic. I usually hit the back button whenever I see one, meaning the brand in question marred its reputation as trust agent only to lose a potential consumer of its product or service.
But if there’s something more annoying than interstitial ads, it’s interstitial subscription solicitations.
You know what’s annoying? When your browser asks you if you want to save a password before you even know if the password worked or not. That does’t make sense at all, does it? You should be prompted to save the password only after you’ve seen if it worked. Some browsers have made the change to a more common sense approach, but most haven’t.
It’s even more annoying when a website asks us to subscribe to their newsletter/social/feed before we’ve ever read an article. In what world would we subscribe to anything before we’ve seen it? That’s like assuming eye contact is code for a marriage a proposal request. Don’t ask me to commit before we’ve even said hello.
As a matter of fact, I googled “interstitial ads” so I could provide readers with a more technical definition, and I was interrupted with this:
It should go without saying that I didn’t make it to the site. Here’s another site that didn’t waste my time: Splash Pages: Do We Really Need Them?
Interstitial ads pop up like the motorized stop sign on the side of a blinking school bus, informing us that we must pause our lives until the ad goes away. It takes control away from us, the consumers, and puts it in the hands of an advertiser that we never agreed to communicate with.
This is a self-destructive advertising strategy, as it will only annoy and eventually alienate the very consumers whose traffic drives advertising revenue in the first place. If you’re an advertiser, or a website that hosts advertising, it’s a good idea to steer clear from this approach.
In the worst cases, I’ve opened a news item from the feed preview only to be slapped in the face with an interstitial ad that’s not optimized for mobile. There’s no way for me to move the ad and close it. So the news producer created engaging content that motivated me click over to their site to read more, only to let their advertiser freeze up my phone’s browser before I ever got to the article. Do you think I ever went back to read it?
Of course not. Now I think twice before clicking on any of their articles.
Don’t be that guy.