Customers Have Become Immune to Ads – But Not to Digital Billboards

May 29, 2024
Branding, Marketing

People are tired of ads. So we’re not joking or tooting our own horn when we say digital billboards are your best bet for your advertising and overarching marketing goals.

People are becoming weary of ads and not just the so-called traditional ad methods like radio and newspaper ads. Even digital and mobile-first ads are bearing the brunt of people’s frustrations and boredom. 

The last thing you want to do is annoy, bore or aggravate your customers in any way. That’s why you should tread carefully in your advertising campaigns. This is to say you should never forego advertising, just be strategic and mindful of your approach.

Is there any workaround to your customers’ aversion to today’s ads? Absolutely.

In this article, we dive into the state of customers’ feelings toward advertisements across different formats and circumstances. We also compare digital billboards to other ad methods to prove how they’re the safest and most effective alternative to boredom and distaste-inducing ads.


Tired of Ads: The Grim Reality

It’s not easy to admit that customers across the board are becoming immune to advertisements. But the number of frustrated ad recipients is growing. This is largely due to the fact that ads are omnipresent – and their presence grows daily, not just in amount, but in the format and medium of the advertisement.

Consider the new popular media today, such as TikTok, Netflix or Instagram. Ads are used across these platforms and virtually all others. Imagine you are trying to unwind with short videos across the internet and suddenly you get bombarded with ads seemingly out of nowhere. These are disruptive and ruin the experience for customers.

It’s no wonder that many customers use any means available to them to escape viewing advertisements. And it’s incredibly easy for them to doge your ads, whether passively avoiding your ads or by taking some action that gets rid of them. 

Where and How Customers Avoid Your Advertisements

Given the ease of averting an ad and the growing frustrations with the sheer number of ads exposed daily, customers actively avoid viewing ads in a number of ways. The following are just a few ways your customers are staving off ad exposure. While this may seem grim, consider this: there is a major solution to this issue in the form of OOH advertising (more on this further down). You can also avoid distaste in your ads by creating content that resonates. 

Here are some places customers avoid ads and the measures they take to do so:

Tired of seeing ads digitally and how customers avoid them:

  • Social media: 
    • Clicking out of popups 
    • Exing out of side panels side panels
  • Ecommerce platforms (Amazon, etc): 
    • Clicking out of side panels
    • Scrolling down to non-sponsored posts
  • Blogs, news sites and other publications
    • Refreshing the page when there are too many ads
    • Lowering the volume of video ads play
    • Scrolling past banner ads
  • DTC platforms (Dollar Shave Club, Casper, etc.)
    • Scrolling past product carousels 
    • Exing out of marketing collateral signups
  • Video Hosting Platforms (Tiktok, YouTube Shorts, etc)
    • Scrolling down to fend off an ad
    • Unfollowing creators with sales-y content
  • Video Streaming (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.)
    • Leaving the room while an ad plays on a video
    • Muting the video while an ad plays

Tired of seeing ads through traditional ad methods & how they’re avoided:

  • Television 
    • Muting the TV when an ad comes up
    • Changing the channel during commercials
    • Checking phone, playing games or switching to another device while an ad plays
  • Radio
    • Changing a radio station when ads come on
    • Turning off the radio completely
    • Muting or lowering the volume

Tired of seeing ads in the real world & how customers avoid them:

  • Flyers
    • Trashing ads left on doors and doorsteps
    • Discarding mailed-in ads
    • Simply kicking them away
  • Posters
    • Ignoring them by looking away
    • Avoiding places with conspicuous ads

Tired of Ads: What the Customers Are Saying 

There is plenty of data supporting the notion that customers from all verticals and niches are fed up with advertisements. With more media channels growing in popularity, marketers are netting more methods and tools for displaying (and playing) their ads. 

While this is rather positive news for marketers, as different customers frequent different digital properties and media, it can also be a nuisance to customers who are tired of being inundated with ads, thereby rendering your ads on these platforms useless at best. At worst, they establish negative associations with your brand.

Below is some key data proving customers’ distaste for excess advertisements. Don’t let this discourage your ad campaigns, as many of these have a major solution (in the next section). Here we also offer up some advice on drawing disdain from your customers. 

A heaping 96% of customers don’t trust advertisements. This weighty figure represents a struggle for most companies. However, if your brand delivers on all of its promises and assists customers with their issues with your brand, you’ll be earning their trust gradually.

Nearly 3 out of every 4 users (74%) think there are too many ads. The number increases to 78% for adults ages 35 and above. Age doesn’t just bring wisdom, but more exposure to ads across all mediums. It’s only a matter of time before most of your target market becomes weary of ads, unless you use them in the right places. 

92% of shoppers feel ads are becoming more intrusive. This returns us to the scenario of viewing short videos, when suddenly, an unwanted ad is shown, throwing customers off of their originally enjoyable experience. This is just an example and intrusive ads are not limited to videos. A site visitor may be perusing their favorite blog when the screen becomes filled with pesky ads that all require being clicked out of.

91% of customers admit they wouldn’t purchase from an advertiser with annoying ad experiences. Consider what experiences would make an ad annoying or disruptive, no matter how relatable it may be to your customers. You can avoid annoying your customers by creating ads in the right experiences, namely not within content

Disruptive experiences have led 70% of customers to believe advertisers don’t respect their digital experience. It is this sentiment in which customers believe your brand crossed the line and develop negative associations with it. After all, if you don’t respect them, why should they view your ad, or respect you? Remember that in today’s age, you’re competing on experience, not just price points. 

Rounding out the data with some good news, 68% of customers are most likely to engage with an ad when completely disengaged from content. This proves that ads are not your enemy, your customers will still view them, depending on their circumstance. You can use this to your advantage and stave off boredom, frustration, and any other aversions present among customers who’ve seen too many ads. 

If only there was an advertising method that didn’t take away from customers’ experience…


Digital Billboards: A Strong Alternative

Digital billboards are the antidote to all advertising frustrations. 

That’s because DOOH (digital out-of-home advertising) serves as the remedy to any grievances that online or traditional advertisements cause

Consider the following problems other ad methods face, versus digital billboards in the same scenarios. DOOH comes out unscathed from all of these issues; instead, it offers a solution.

The Verdict: People may be tired of ads, but not digital billboards

Different advertising platforms allow you to nurture your customers and foster brand recognition. But it must be done right.

As the above comparisons illustrate, billboards are simply the most effective and non-intrusive advertising method. They don’t fall victim to customers’ typical aversions with ads in virtually any circumstance. 

Digital billboards’ secret ingredient lies in their non-intrusive nature and their non-tangible nature. Here’s how:

  • Billboards don’t wreak havoc on anyone’s experience; they add to it. It’s pleasant to see beautiful ads largely displayed with lights added to them. Best of all, billboards don’t intrude on anyone’s digital experience (DX). Customers can choose to view them while viewing other content on their phones or elsewhere. They’re not forced to pause their content unexpectedly.
  • Whether an ad is digital or physical, customers can easily get rid of it, whether through psychically discarding it or digitally scrolling or clicking out of it. They can’t with billboards. Customers have no tangible experience with them, except for sight. Billboards are large and nearly impossible to ignore.

All in all, the verdict is that although customers are tired of ads, they’re not tired of digital billboards. DOOH is a highly effective alternative to all other forms of advertising. According to a Nielsen study, digital billboards produce high recall for ads and positive attitudes among customers. In fact, 55% of people who saw a digital billboard ad engaged in some action, including online searches and visits to stores. 

Blip empowers your OOH campaigns in a modern and dynamic way. With over 2,000 billboard locations across the country, the ability to schedule your ads, choose your blips (8-15 second ad slots) and access billboard analytics, it’s your one-stop shop for excelling at all your OOH ad campaigns in an affordable and accessible way. 

People hate ads because they often feel repetitive and overly sales-oriented. To improve engagement, it’s important to create ads that stand out with compelling visuals, compelling scenarios, and relatable characters. Try to make your advertising unique to capture attention.