Where have all my pop-ups gone?

25th September, 2013

If there is such a thing as a decrease in spam, I am yet to fully experience this. The sheer amount of spam mail I receive is forever baffling, the topics more so. I am sure you have all been contacted by a Nigerian princess or have been made aware of the gold that you had previously misplaced – don’t worry, we are all forgetful – and the certain misfortune that awaits anyone who ignores these cryptic messages. Most of the sensible web-savvy public have long become aware of the dangers of pursuing any of these obviously fraudulent adverts, but as they continue, others must be clicking with tremendous velocity somewhere.

This brand of spam – termed phishing – has entered into the web consciousness as the realm of fraudsters worldwide, but whatever happened to good old fashioned (and annoying as hell) pop-ups? Surely, we cannot all be web savants, every single one of us with AdBlock Plus enabled? If this were the case, would the internet not fail due to the lack of advertising funding to keep the whole thing running?

Thankfully, this is not the case. There has been a paradigm shift in the way advertisers approach the internet that has evolved from pop-ups, transcending previous attempts to hold our gaze and hopefully initiate the all-important click through. The result for the consumer is a continual bombardment that we now have little to no option to switch off, let alone hide from if we wish to continue utilising our favourite apps. And the developers and mobile marketers realise exactly this: we will choose the connectivity, the social connections and the ease of use almost all of the time over the permanent pop-ups.

Research has had its part to play in this process. Market researchers understand that our smart devices are central to our lives now. With market proliferation of smart phones at an ever increasing high, it is understandable that marketing has kept pace with technology. With the average person checking their phones around 150 times per day advertisers do not need to create pop-ups as, whether we like it or not, we have become them.

Whilst many of us would claim that we have become impervious to most adverts, especially now that they are not flashing green and pink on our desktops (for that matter, how many people actually have desktops any more?) the long term effect for us, the consumer, is that now more than ever, we are the commodity that is bought, shared and shuffled from one app to the next and our only voice in the matter is ‘submit, or log off.’