Why Website Ads Suck Ass


Okay, here’s an opportunity for my basic journalism education to become useful.

The most lucrative form of website traffic is what’s known as a click-through. Ideally, a website wants a user to arrive at the website, and then investigate several linked pages, through the website’s own links. No big surprise there, and I know that as a web guy, Epicurus knows this already. The weird thing is where news sites stop behaving like sensible adults and start behaving like morons.

See, the vast, vast majority of hits aren’t that. They’re people who arrive at a page, look at one thing, and then leave. Advertisers have such good measurement tools, however, that they can observe the time a person is exposed to their ad. Quick arrival, quick departure? That’s bad, and typically, they pay less for those hits.

However, people have a natural inclination to let other people speak. Initial hits to a website can be of a longer duration if the people there start hearing an advertisement, or something that encourages them to keep paying attention. What’s more, this is inherently useful marketing information, too. Marketers can put out an ad that auto-plays, and the ads that attract less clickaway are more valuable. So rather than make better, more useful, and more interesting advertising systems, marketing strategies instead want to keep you there for as long as they can – even though that time is measured in microseconds for most.

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