Yes, everyone hates ads on their apps. We hate ads everywhere. But when it comes down to sponsorship interests, we as designers have to live with these ads whether we like it or not. So what to do, then?
First things first: Consider regulations and standards.
Not only does it provide complete explanations, it also provides sizes and samples of all the available ad standards, including character counts for text ads.
Positioning: Avoid tap mistakes!
I am an avid user of deviantArt. But their mobile web version used to always make me click on the ads by mistake while I was trying to edit my messages.
They changed that, though, and I’m grateful for it. Now, instead of taking you directly to the ad, clicking on it overlays a button that says ‘Go to ad’, so you have to click on it twice for you to be taken out and redirected to the sponsor’s web page.
I would rather place the ads over the menu, though, or not as close to it (some padding would help).
Last week, during the Seattle stop of the Web App Masters Tour, Luke Wroblewski said something about this, quoting data from Harris Interactive:
47% of mobile users tap on ads by mistake
You may also want to read the MMA guidelines on this regard, since they mention creative design considerations for ad placement.
Alternatives: Whole-page advertising
Maybe it’s not an option on mobile web, but what about native apps? I’ve seen this done and, even if it’s a larger display, sometimes it makes it far more elegant and discreet.
When the app is loaded, for example ElNorte.com
‘s mobile app for iPhone (a regional newspaper), the app displays a whole-page advertisement, entirely designed to suite the sponsor’s requirements, which then elegantly flips back to the app. This is presented while the next stage of the app is done loading.
So what’s your take on mobile advertising? I’m still testing the best solutions myself, so I might let you know of new discoveries along the way.