Digital advertising is experiencing a shift towards a mobile and multiscreen world, and despite increasingly available opportunities, user experience is not always awesome. According to IAB’s Improving Digital Advertising Experiences report, 73% of marketers feel that user experience has to be developed in digital advertising.

User experience is more important than ever for consumers and that’s what brands – and their agencies – tend to overlook when creating a new ad. It’s the combination of speed, relevance, quality and security that nudges users to engage with an advertising experience, and modern marketers should focus more in this direction.

The more advertisements placed with the user experience, the more challenging it is to gain an interaction. To get the engagement needed from users, there are different steps marketers can take to improve the user experience in display advertising.  

Don’t be annoying

Keep in mind the marketing intent when selecting creative sizes and formats. Using a full-page takeover or splash page can hinder user experience, which might have a negative effect on a brand.

Instead, place a creative “above the fold” on any web page using the more common sizes, including 300×250, 728×90, and 160×600. Keep in mind the creative sizes used for desktop differ from those used for mobile. But more importantly, desktop and mobile creative formats should be designed and treated differently. While some of the impact of user experience is in the hands of the publisher, marketers can continue to push for better experiences. A better user experience leads to more positive results. Whether it’s the page load time, the responsive design or the ad clutter, there are certainly many areas to consider in digital advertising.

Targeting is your friend

No matter how many changes UX may bring, the proper understanding of a target audience is often key to a successful digital advertising campaign.

One of the biggest benefits of digital advertising is that it enables marketers to use sophisticated targeting strategies to accurately reach their target audience. Marketers need to use the targeting capabilities and audience data to better understand their customer in order to create a better experience. Using this data can help create the best content according to the context.

Look to be contextually relevant when selecting a targeting strategy.This can mean a number of things: ad messaging that matches tightly with the page content it is displayed next to, copy that reflects real-time news, syncing ads with purchase intent. In the end, it’s all about delivering the right content for the right audience.

Use the tools effectively

Marketers focus on calls to action for a reason – they matter. Potential customers need to understand what is being offered and they need it quickly. Creative and landing pages used in digital advertising campaigns need to make it easy for users. According to Google, new website visitors form “gut feelings” on new websites and ads based on their visual complexity – how complex the visual design looks – and its first impression – how similar the site looks compared to others in its category – in just 17-50 milliseconds.  For comparison purposes, the average blink takes 100-400 milliseconds.

The truth is, we all make snap judgments and both a website’s user experience and digital ad contribute to these first impressions. So make them count when selecting digital advertising tools and strategies.

Optimisation must be done

Don’t shy away from making optimisations to improve the overall performance of the campaign. Utilise frequency capping so you aren’t targeting the same user all the time. Use transparent reporting to make decisions and help your campaigns perform more efficiently, more quickly. More so, marketers should look at A/B testing with ad copy to determine which creative best enhances the user’s experience.

Even if you aren’t optimising to CTR, CPA or other conversion-based metrics, having an optimised creative and a call to action can dramatically improve campaign performance. Putting an existing CTA against a dramatically different one is a simple test that can result in major improvements in performance.

To truly maximise the user’s advertising experience, start by putting yourself in their shoes. Then consider these four tips to amp up your marketing strategies in a fast developing world.