Category Archives: advertising

Wife’s Search Appears In My Adverts



Anyone who has spent any time on the internet will have seen this. You do a search for a product or service, look at a few options, and for the next few days, you’ll see whatever you found advertised back to you in web pages. It’s annoying because either I’ve already bought the product or else I’ve dismissed it as unsuitable.

Here’s an example. The picture on the left is a holiday house in Iceland. The picture on right is the house advertised back to me later via a Dilbert email.

It all looks fairly normal, except that I didn’t do the search for the house. My wife did. The picture on the left is from my wife’s Samsung S2 tablet. The picture on the right is from my Huawei Mediapad.

I was very surprised to see this house. I only knew about it because my wife had shown me the pictures for Iceland as a holiday destination. Somehow the advertisers have managed to digitally link me and my wife. I have no idea how this was done as we have our own accounts on all our devices.

It’s really cunning. Advertise to partners for things that the other has already been searching on. Sow that seed in a husband’s mind – “Oooh, that looks like something Jenny would like! I’ll order that now.” Kerching…

Be aware of this. If you get advertised for something that you don’t recognise and would probably be of interest to your partner, you’re being fished.

And if it’s something that you don’t recognise, you’d quite like and your birthday’s coming up, just act surprised when you unwrap it.

Anyone else seen this? Very insidious.


Let Your Fingers Do The Walking



A Yellow Pages came through my letterbox the other day along with other festive promotions. That was the first clue – a Yellow Pages didn’t used to fit through the letterbox, being usually left on the doorstep for the homeowner to trip over. The next clue was the blue flash in the top right hand corner “Final Edition”. That’s right, the paper copy of the Yellow Pages is shortly to be no more.

It’s not exactly surprising. This copy was a svelte 200+ pages of sub-A4, not the 1,000 page brick of a book that defied judo champions. First published in 1966, the last of 104 final editions will drop onto doormats in January 2019. Along with everything else, finding businesses has gone on-line and there’s now yell.com for all your local business needs.

Yellow Pages was responsible for some iconic catchphrases and adverts. “Let your fingers do the walking” and Fly Fishing by JR Hartley entered the zeitgeist in 1983, decades before the web and memes. I’m sure there will be fond memories of Bike, French Polishers and Cleaners too.

Truly an end of an era.

(This article is about the British Yellow Pages)


AdPlugg Can Now be Used for AMP Ads



AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a technology from Google that makes your pages load faster in mobile browsers. AdPlugg can now be used to serve ads into your AMP formatted pages.

AdPlugg can schedule, rotate, and report on the ads that appear in your AMP pages. This might be useful for those who want to include ads on their website, and it could potentially get your website more traffic from mobile users.

The standard way to implement AMP is to have two page urls, one regular one and an AMP one. Mobile browsers are told to use the AMP version. Pages that adhere to AMP standard often load almost twice as fast as a regular web page. This is due to a simplified structure, improved cachability and the elimination (or deferment) of slow moving resources.

AMP points out that it has strict standards regarding what can appear on an AMP page. This is to ensure fast load times. In order for an element to appear on an AMP page, it needs to be an officially approved AMP extension.

AdPlugg is now an official AMP extension and a provider of amp ads. AMP has also integrated with the AMP WordPress plugin from Automattic to make it easy to place ads into your WordPress powered AMP pages.

There is a helpful step-by-step list on the AMP website that walks you through how to make this work. It also has a brief description on how to add tags manually or programatically for people who are not using WordPress. Interestingly, AMP has a link you can click to see what the AMP version of their post about AdPlugg would look like on a mobile device.


Flattr Plus Seeks to Revolutionize Web Monetization



Flattr Plus logoOne of the most common ways for websites to generate income is to post ads. Today, many people use ad blockers so they won’t be annoyed by all those ads. Flattr Plus provides a way for people to support their favorite websites and use an ad blocker at the same time.

Flattr Plus, which is currently in beta, was created by Flattr and Ad Block Plus. It is expected to launch at the end of this month. In short, Flattr Plus gives people an automated way to make micropayments that support the creators of the web content that the person engages with the most. You set a budget, and Flattr Plus’s algorithm automatically distributes the right amounts to the right sites.

According to E-Commerce Times, Adblock Plus and Flattr together get 10% of what is donated. It also reported that consumers need to provide a method of payment and specify how much they are willing to contribute to their favorite sites. A person can choose to make one-off donations or regular payments.

Flattr Plus solves the problems with existing micropayment solutions. In previous micropayment schemes, users had to manually fund single articles. The Flattr Plus algorithm automates that process.

Flattr Plus has information for publishers (or content creators). It states that the algorithm ensures that payments will be based on actual engagement with a website rather than just visits. Flattr Plus will work with all publishers and content creators who already have Flattr.

Flattr Plus has a really cute video that explains why it is needed.


Everyone Hates Ads that Cover the Screen



Google App Interstitial adWhat do you do when you visit a website that allows you to view the content for a second or two and then covers the entire screen with an ad? If you are like me, you rush to close the browser. A (very narrowly focused) case study by Google reveals that people are not a fan of those types of ads.

Personally, I hate it when websites give me two seconds to look at the article I wanted to read, and then cover the entire screen with an ad. It’s a confusing situation to be in, for about a second or two, until I realize what happened.

Where did that article go? Oh, it’s been buried beneath a huge ad. The next thing I do is close the browser. It’s quicker than trying to figure out where to click on the ad to make it go away. I don’t want to waste time searching for an x to click when I could be visiting a different website that has the same information that I wanted to read about.

I don’t use my phone to surf the internet, but I’m certain that if I did, I’d be equally eager to evade those annoying “in your face” ads. And, I wouldn’t be alone. Google did a case study on their mobile ads for the Google+ app. They used interstitials that covered the screen in an effort to make people aware of their app. They had a feeling that they should remove the ad, but wanted to gather data about it before doing so. Here’s what they found:

9% of the visits to their interstitial page resulted in the “Get App” button being pressed. Some of those who clicked that button already had the app. Some of them never followed through and installed the app. I suspect that these clicks were from people who were just trying to get the ad out of their way.

69% of the visitors to their interstitial page abandoned the page. These people didn’t go to the app store, and they didn’t continue to use the Google+ mobile website. In other words, they were annoyed by the ad that blocked what they wanted to see, so they went somewhere else.

Google then chose to remove the interstitial ad, and replace it with a Smart App Banner. One result was that 1- day active users on their mobile website increased by 17%. They have since retired the annoying interstitial ad that was chasing users away from their website.

If there is a moral to the story, it is this: If you want people to visit your website – don’t cover the entire website with an ad seconds after a person decides to give your website a try.


Annoying Advert In News Story



Newspapers. I know that you are having a tough time of it at the moment, but here’s a way to make sure that I never visit your website and never buy your newspaper ever again. It’s easy, just insert an advert into a news story and force me to click on it before you show me the rest of the story.

Here’s what you get at the start of the story.

Annoying Advert

After clicking on the correct answer, you now get the rest of the story and an inserted promotional video. How annoying is that? Even worse, you have to click on the correct answer. Clicking on a wrong answer gets you further patronising information about the programme.

Annoying Advert 2

You can check it out for yourself here.

Goodbye Belfast Newsletter – as “the world’s oldest continuously published English publication”, you should know better.