7 Online Ads That Are More Irritating than Facebook Advertising


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facebook adsThere are few dirtier words in online circles than Facebook advertising. All over the web users hiss and spit the words ‘sponsored stories’ as they scroll through timelines, wordlessly cursing Mark Zuckerberg with every click. The social network’s native advertising scheme has led some users to quit the network. Others have even filed a class action lawsuit over them. But, whisper it, sponsored stories aren’t all that bad. There are many more irritating advertising ploys online.

For those of you who didn’t click away or set the laptop on fire at that last statement, thank you for your patience, I should explain. Sponsored stories are a massively frustrating, fairly ugly tactic. I’m not here to defend them. But it is worth pointing out the bigger online advertising crimes around the web.

Background Takeovers

Some background takeovers are great; if they use the space well and are designed to work as a background they can add to a website’s aesthetic. But when they’re done badly they could make a list of the ugliest online trends. When brands that don’t do a lot of creative design do a background takeover it can go really wrong. These ads normally afflict media outlets and newspapers and hark back to the days of old MySpace and colorblind teenagers let loose on a color palette. You know the ones I mean, a logo on a solid color background, tiled all over the background. At best they’re a bit ugly, at worst, they make it impossible to focus on the actual website contents.

Moving, Intentional Distractions

Speaking of things that distract you from the actual website content. These ads are designed to break the fourth wall. There’s a little actor in the corner of your screen and he or she wants you to read about a product, so they wave and smile and signal you to click on the ad. Which makes it impossible to focus on the text, the reason you came to the site in the first place. I’d be interested to see stats on the success of these ads and how it compares to the cost of thousands of punched laptop screens.

Rollover Ads

These ads are silent killers. You can visit a website full of them and never notice. Then you accidentally touch your mouse when you put down a coffee mug and all of a sudden you’ve spilled advertising all over the screen. And it’s never as simple as rolling off the ad; you usually have to click close. A minor irritation, the first time. After the third or fourth its something else entirely.

Holding/Loading Pages

We’re an inpatient lot, us Internet users. So why do websites think it’s okay to ask you to wait to see the content you’ve asked for? This isn’t dialup; I know a webpage doesn’t take 20 seconds to load. I really don’t care what your thought of the day is. I want to read your content, that’s it. As you may have guessed, I really don’t like holding pages.


Ah the popup. The ad type that had a whole browser function invented to stop it. They’re back, and this time, they’re Flash enabled. Modern popups don’t create new windows; they just generate little boxout ads that need to be closed before you can look at the page you were looking for. Which is irksome when you first arrive at a website, on sites where you get 3 or 4 a visit are exasperating.

Video Pre-Roll

When you feel the need to create a skip button on an ad, you should know that something’s up. Pre-roll ads may become a necessary evil on video-sharing sites and the skip buttons are helpful, but there has to be a better way to do video advertising. If you’re a regular YouTube user, think of the brands that you always see on pre-roll ads. You feel that bile rising in your throat? Imagine that was your brand, why do you want to make people feel that way about your product?

Autoplay Video/Audio

This one isn’t as prevalent as it used to be, which actually makes the few instances that you now encounter even worse. People go online in one of two environments; they’re either at home watching TV or listening to music or at work in a quiet office. In both instances a video rudely interrupting of its own accord is only going to get one reaction, a quick tap of the back button.

As social continues to take over and more and more advertising goes native, we all need to get used to things like sponsored stories. It will be irritating, but remember it could be a lot worse. It already is.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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