Most ads are annoying. You see them pop up on TV, right when the scene’s getting intense; they load fast on Youtube, then the actual video is slow as a dying turtle; you go to some sites and they are plastered all over the page.
Ads are cousins to spam emails, but not all of them are evil. Some are actually helpful, and a few deserve to be loved.
Block all the ads?
In the first few years of my online life, I was introduced to ad-blocking, particularly with using a browser extension to block ads on sites I visit. It was life-changing, considering how much extra time it takes to skip or wait through auto-playing video ads and website popups.
It wasn’t until I started sinking my toes in digital marketing that I realized how important ads are — at least the well-crafted ones.
Ads are the lifeblood of content makers
In case you weren’t aware, advertisers pay content makers and free service providers (e.g. TV networks, Youtube channels, social networks, websites, mobile games, etc.) to promote their products.
If no one saw the ads, advertisers will have a hard time selling their products which could result into them not having the money to pay the content makers. If no one pays the content makers, they’ll be forced to look for other sources of income — that could likely include not creating content for you anymore.
If something is free, you are (likely) the product.
Sure, there’s truth in that, but that’s how this whole system works — that’s how the free product or service continues to be free for us. As Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s creator, recalls:
I literally coded Facebook in my dorm room and launched it from my dorm room. I rented a server for $85 a month, and I funded it by putting an ad on the side, and we’ve funded ever since by putting ads on the side.
Ads help us find what we’re looking for
Ever wonder how when you were viewing this one product at Amazon and then saw it advertised on Facebook?
No, seriously, it’s what the marketing folks call “retargeting”.
Simply put in a non-technical way, you saw this product but didn’t buy it, yet Amazon thinks you’re interested in buying it some other time so it hints Facebook to advertise that specific product to you.
Well, it does feel like magic — yet creepy. It’s a technological sorcery termed “tracking“.
As sinister as that might be, if done right the relevant ads could actually make you find the same product easier once you’ve decided to purchase it. Heck, there are ads that could get you huge discounts and freebies.
(Some) ads are creative and fun
The internet is 50% ads.
OK, I made that number up, but have you ever wondered how ads have evolved over the years? They’re actually smarter now, some even running on A.I.-ish algorithms, showing you just the highly relevant ones right when you need them.
Misleading and false ads will exist for a while, but newer trends of advertising are creative and fun. They don’t feel like ads at all and even adds up to the entertainment value of the content.
Ads are OK
I used to loathe them, but their absence kind of made the internet boring for me. I also learned a lot from observing them and have applied these lessons in different aspects of my daily life. You’ll be surprised how many ways a person can be convinced (and how one fails to).
Ads are here to stay. Let’s learn to accept them, learn from them, and use them to our advantage.
What do you think of ads these days? Share your thoughts in the comments section down below.