Ads have become an unavoidable part of the web browsing experience but that hasn’t made people hate them less. For most sites (blogs, news, social media et al), users have come to accept ads as part of the experience. Even then, they still do their best to avoid them.
For e-commerce sites however, ads are unacceptable. You’re trying to sell them something already, why bombard them with ads? Besides, you’d make a lot more money selling your wares to website visitors than you ever could from their clicks on ads.
Granted, most e-commerce ads are rarely external. They usually advertise special offers, on-site promotions, signing up discounts, and encourage customers to install your mobile app. Problem is, customers rarely make a distinction between internal and external apps. They hate them all the same.
On the homepage
Never have ads of any kind on your homepage. It’s the first place new customers land when accessing your site and it needs to set the tone for the rest of their experience. Annoying them at first sight is not the way to go. The homepage is supposed to give an overview of your site and filling it with ads is not going to help with that.
On desktop you can have a single banner ad announcing a special offer but any such on mobile should be completely avoided as they end up taking up too much of the already limited screen real estate. Graphic ads should also be avoided entirely.
On the product list
- Avoid all types of ads above and within the product list.
- Avoid text ads below the product list.
- Avoid overlay dialogs on page load because customers treat them as ads and many close them without ever bothering to find out what they contain.
On search results
Text ads can be included in search results but only if a customer searches for a product that you don’t stock. For example, if you are a clothing store and a customer comes in searching for a refrigerator, you can direct that customer to a store that sells refrigerators.
These are fine
- Graphics that adopt the characteristics of your site (background, text colors, fonts, etc.) and that avoid using visual boxing are less likely to be perceived as ads.
- You can also allow ads in sidebars as long as they don’t mix with or distract from filters and subcategories.