How to make digital ads UX-friendly

Digital ads are powerful. They generate brand awareness, source leads, and drive conversions. 

However, most users have a poor perception of digital advertising due to notoriously bad ad design and user experience (UX). According to a Wunderkind survey, 91% of consumers will not purchase from a brand that utilizes intrusive or annoying ad experiences. 

With the cost of acquisition rising across traditional paid channels and an economic downturn resulting in declining returns, digital advertising dollars must be spent wisely. Don’t pay for advertising that doesn’t reach relevant customers, leave a good impression, and generate ROI. 

The problem and the solution

Wunderkind research found that 63% of users install ad blockers because they find ads annoying, intrusive, and disruptive, and 88% of users are unlikely to return to a publisher page that interrupts or blocks their content consumption. 

Therefore, poor user experience results in a waste of ad spend for advertisers, users being less likely to return to the publisher’s site, and publishers losing readers and subscribers. 

The solution? 60% of users would prefer to see ads when they have disengaged from the content, and 68% of users are most likely to click and engage with an ad when they are completely disengaged from the publisher’s site.

High quality, post-content ads show a 5-10% lift in ad revenue. Find out more in our WunderKIND Ads report.

Why is UX design important for digital ads?

Digital advertising has always had a fraught relationship with user experience, as many people see ads as synonymous with pop-ups blocking their display, poor-quality text and images, or irrelevant content. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Digital ads can be user-friendly—yes, really!

“The biggest indicator that an ad is user-friendly is when the ad doesn’t impact the user journey,” says Andrea Cory, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Wunderkind. “If you’re reading an article and an ad pops up, then you immediately want to exit. Any ad that distracts a consumer from publisher content has negative implications for all parties involved, including the advertiser, publisher, and consumer. Wait until the user has disengaged.”

Tips to improve your digital ads’ UX

1. Wait for the perfect moment

The key is to hold your ad until the user has finished with their content. Post-content ads address users without giving your brand a bad reputation for interrupting them. 

How do you know when the user has disengaged? Certain triggers measure inactivity with your ads, such as:

  • Exit intent: A user navigates to the back button, URL, or another tab in the window
  • Inactivity: A user arrives on the site, then is subsequently observed as inactive for 30 seconds
  • Reactivity: A user switches to another tab, then returns to the original
  • Refocus: A user is inactive for 10 seconds, then scrolls or moves their cursor away from the content

Post-content, UX-friendly ads benefit the user, the advertiser, and the publisher, Cory explains. “When you don’t interrupt the user journey, a consumer won’t have a negative view of your brand, and they’ll want to keep returning to the publisher’s site. They’re also more likely to engage with your ad because of the timing and high-quality experience.”

2. High-quality content

Old-school ads just won’t cut it anymore, as users will only pay attention to exciting, premium content. Here are a couple of ways to make your digital ads stand out visually:

  • Shoppable Creative: An ad unit that allows the customer to click on products and directly add them to their cart.


  • Video Selector: A multi-video unit works well for awareness campaigns, allowing multiple products to be advertised in one creative asset. The user can select which video journey they want to follow.


  • Tap to Map: This feature utilizes the user’s geographic location in order to generate nearby stores or dealerships. 

3. Segment your audiences

We all know how annoying it is to get ads that have nothing to do with us, such as baby toys when you don’t have kids or dog treats when you don’t have pets. It makes us feel as though the brand is irrelevant and wasting our time. 

Segmented audiences allow you to serve relevant content to interested and engaged parties. And with contextual targeting, you can reach the right people by processing the information on a web page the customer is browsing, and then using that information to show relevant ads (all without third-party cookies).

4. Ditch the banner

Banner blindness is a real problem for users. 60% of consumers say they ignore standard banner ads. The solution? Eye-catching experiences that dominate the screen (but only once the user has disengaged from the content!). 

However, larger ads alone aren’t the answer, as 92% of consumers think digital advertising is getting more intrusive. The ad should be appropriate for the product, the audience, and the experience.

Wunderkind provides a user-friendly ad experience

Amanda Gomez, VP of Revenue Operations at The New York Post says, “WunderKIND Ads is one of the most efficient mediums for ad revenue that we have. Their ad offering provides a diversified, unique demand with high CPMs that is unmatched by any other partner.” 

Wunderkind is one of the only post-content ad providers in the US that waits until the perfect moment to deploy an ad. We implement the UX-friendly techniques mentioned above to ensure users, advertisers, and publishers all benefit.

Get additional revenue through WunderKIND Ads. Request a demo today.


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Emily Black

Emily has a background in writing, specifically in the technology and eCommerce industry. After completing her MA she entered the eCommerce space, writing reports, blogs, and whitepapers. She aims to cut through the industry noise to bring clear insight to the Wunderkind community.

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