Acceptable Ads guidelines, its effect on user experience and ad-noticeability

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: The Acceptable Ads Standard is a set of guidelines developed by the biggest ad-blocker company AdBlock Plus as an attempt to alleviate the largest need for ad-blocking programs; ads being annoying, irrelevant, and too intrusive. The guidelines inflict rules regarding how ads can be presented in order to be acceptable, thereby not disturbing the consumer. If a website follows these guidelines, their ads will not get blocked. The terms ad-avoidance and ad-irritation has been established by Cho et al. and Baek et al. [4]. The term ad-noticeability was added to these in order to express the behavior of seeing an ad, but not necessarily understanding what it’s trying to mediate. This study aims to examine the Acceptable Ads guidelines’ effect on user experience and ad-noticeability through a quantitative and qualitative study. The two studies were conducted with the help of two specially made test suites in the form of two websites, one with acceptable and one with non-acceptable ads. All participants went through the same set of tasks on the websites. In the quantitative study, data regarding what ads the participants’ had seen and what their experiences’ had been like was collected. Through the qualitative study, it was possible to get more elaborate answers to why certain ads were seen or missed and to get more in-depth answers regarding the participants’ experiences. Through the study, it was found that there is a difference in ad-noticeability and the user experience of ads between websites that contain either acceptable or non-acceptable ads. The results suggest that the Acceptable Ads guidelines affect user experience positively, i.e. leading to less ad-irritation or annoyance, but also affect ad-noticeability negatively. It was also found that cognitive ad-avoidance was greatly affected by task-oriented focus, both in cases with and without ads following acceptable

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