Mobile Advertising Takes Us Back in the ’90s

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Using laptopI have to get this off my chest as it’s been bugging me for a while and just been reminded this morning of this issue so had to pick up the keyboard and blog (moan?) about it.

I’m not the biggest mobile user — arguably! — however, like most people out there I find myself often filling in time by using my phone. Whether it is to read and reply to emails, make some quick notes in Evernote or simply play a game.

Part of this experience, I’ve learned, involves occasionally being presented with “product recommendations” (read “advertising”) — we get this all the time on the web, where adverts relevant to either our activities or the context of the page decorate the page. Sometimes we ignore them sometimes we decide to click on them — as long as they are not intrusive I think we all learned to live with them and use them when relevant.

Sadly, I see that not the same applies to mobile platform advertising! 🙁

I see a lot of applications which “got it” in terms of advertising — whether it is offering in-app purchases for various upgrades or similar. While arguably that can be considered a bit intrusive, it is relevant! If you are playing a game I find it ok that the app offers me the choice of buying weapon upgrades or whatever the game is about, it’s in context!

What I dislike though — and I see more and more of this sadly! — is when say a game, after finishing a level or when pausing the game, pushes advertising in my face. Typically (to make it worse!) this is accompanied by a message reading something like “If you buy the full app rather than the free version we will not show advertising anymore”!

That is nothing but a clear declaration of intent that advertising in this case is not used to enhance the user experience, but on the contrary: to totally annoy the hell out of the user until he either buys the app or decides to abandon it.

For those of you who remember the ’90’s, does this not sound just like the annoying popups that used to “decorate” every single website out there? Are we back in the ’90s and set again on destroying advertising? It’s apps like these that ruin the concept of advertising for every user out there. And what’s more interesting that the apps using this approach (can’t blame them, after all they probably make a bit of money out of accidental clicking on ads) is that there are entire “mobile advertising” companies out there offering this service. Seriously? Do advertisers not care anymore about the user experience and just want to bombard the hell out of the user with their messaging? 🙁

Welcome back to the ’90s 🙁