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Lessons for Websites
Sites that accept advertising should think twice before accepting ads that 80 to 90% of users strongly dislike. The resulting drop in customer satisfaction will damage your website’s long-term prospects.
Advertisers themselves might be tempted to continue with these nasty design techniques as long as they can find sites that will run them. After all, they typically yield higher clickthrough rates. But clickthrough is not only goal. Users who are deceived into clicking on a misleading ad might drive up your CTR, but they’re unlikely to convert into paying customers. And your brand suffers a distinct negative impact when you antagonize customers and use techniques that are associated with worst scum on net.
Corporate websites can also learn from these studies, even if they don’t run ads. Many elements that users dislike in ad design are also common in mainstream web design, with equally bad affects. A few things to avoid:
- Slow load times
- “Teasing” links, misleading categories, and other elements that trick users into clicking
- Content that doesn’t clearly state site’s purpose or what a particular page covers
- Content that moves around page
- Sound that plays automatically
All of these techniques have caused problems in traditional usability studies of non-advertising sites, and they should be avoided like plague. The fact that they’re associated with most hated ads is one more reason that respectable sites should avoid them at all costs.
Alvin Poh has been specialising in web development, content distribution, advertising and marketing strategies since 1995. More of his articles can be found at http://www.xodes.com/.