Why You Should Think About How Ads Affect Users And Sales of Your Software

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A shoutout to John Moltz who pointed this out on his Very Nice Web Site this article:

Turning Off Ads in Parallels

I had a choice between Parallels and Fusion to install on my parents’ Mac. I chose Parallels, and now we all regret that. Next weekend I’m going to go ahead and wipe that and buy Fusion to install on theirs and my sister’s Macs.

Users don’t mind ads. Users don’t mind receiving information and valuable updates about your software product. Users do mind receiving too many ads about third-party software that has nothing to do with your software. Users don’t want to be “reminded” constantly with ads.

Parallels is a Mac OS X software product, but I see the same type of spammy ad model being encouraged for implementation in iOS. Whether free or paid users will accept ads. Everyone knows that its a way for developers to generate revenue, but there must be balance.

If you have ads in a paid product at least give the users an easy way to turn off those ads. If you have a free software product give users a way to pay a reasonable and small fee to turn off those ads.

In iOS the practice of popping a fullscreen ad the instant the app’s initial view displays is an annoyance to users. It also gives the appearance that use of the app is not what’s important, but clicking the ad. Popping an ad every time their is a break in game play is an annoyance. While it will make you money in the short term how long do you really think a customer will suffer through the ad spam before moving on to an app that is more reasonable in displaying ads? Banner ads, More screens with app links, music links, and iBooks links are a kinder, gentler way to show ads and generate income. The big plus is that you don’t over whelm the user and drive them into the arms of another developer’s app.

Here’s a question that I continue to ask those who think ad and notification spamming is ok: Name the apps that use ad and notification spamming that you LOVE, and USE on a DAILY basis. Furthermore which ones of these types of apps do you regularly recommend to friends?

Again there is nothing wrong with advertisements in apps, but there should be a balance between ads and a good user experience.