The Road Sign Rule of Online Advertising
The team from FishandFly.com were having a debate about whether to have advertising within their membership area.
This is a very good question and there are no hard and fast rules.
Quite a bit of research has been undertaken to examine whether people who subscribe to premium content mind having adverts displayed on members-only pages.
The results of the research vary, but if I was to try and summarise the conclusions, I would take the point raised by Gordon Sims in the FishandFly debate:
… adverting and sponsorship in the member area of a website must be like road signs.
If a road sign is in the right place, it helps and enhances the experience of a road user. They notice it, read it and use its directions because they expect it to be there and it provides the information they need at that time.
At worst, drivers who know where they’re going will pass the sign by without noticing it.
At best, drivers who are lost will be delighted to find the sign where it is. For them, the sign could save them a lot of time and hassle.
If a road sign is incorrect, poorly positioned or confusing, everybody will notice it and be annoyed by its presence.
This summarises online advertising, particularly in the members-only area of a website.
Remember the Road Sign Rule of Online Advertising.