Are you being railroaded into clicking on ads on your mobile?

As many people appreciate free content on the internet is paid for by having advertising on the website or app. Even this humble website needs the advertisments to be able to pay our costs, but we try to keep the ads as unobtrusive as possible by having them appear along side or at the bottom of the articles. What i have noticed though as i am researching online for interesting things to write new articles about are how many websites are almost tricking users into clicking their ads when viewing from a mobile or tablet. Let me give you some background, modern well designed websites should be responsive to alter their layout depending on what device you are connecting from, so that they are easy to use on all devices, this is great for the viewer as old websites where you need to keep scrolling around are not nice to navigate. A problem that website owners have been having for a few years now is that people were using ad blockers on their computers so were surfing their sites without viewing the ads and therefore not making any revenue for them. As more people started using mobiles and tablet PCs website owners saw them as a new source of revenue as ad blockers were not heavily used on mobiles and Google wont even allow apps that block ads in the Play store. So web designers started using responsive design to push the adverts more and more to mobile users and this caused a new phenominon that i like to call ads railroading. This is where the adverts are so prelevant on the mobile sites pages that when you are trying to scroll on a page to read the article you inadvertantly click on an advert that you had no interest in. These ad clicks that you were railroaded into clicking on by the bad user interface are unhelpful for several reasons. For the user your going to be annoyed being taken away from the page you were trying to look at to one you weren’t interested in. And if your using mobile data not WiFi this could be using up precious data allowance. For an advertiser your going to have lots of people clicking on your ads who aren’t interest in your products and these visitors are unlikely to convert into sales.

And finally for website owners having bad user interfaces that cause people to be railroaded into clicking on ads may initially create more revenue but eventually users will get annoyed with it and just navigate away to better designed websites where the adverts are less intrusive.

Hopefully this issue will be resolved before users get so annoyed they look for technical solutions such as installing adblocker from 3rd party marketplaces and then ad revenue will drop again.