The Increasing Annoyance of Advertising

February 10, 2010

I use Spotify almost every day. Even so, I’m one of the few people who still enjoys buying and owning CDs, so I refuse to pay for the premium version: I use it for discovery, and buy the physical formats of the bands I like.

If I listen to it for an hour, I’ll probably be subjected to at least five advertising slots. The chances are that 75% of these will be the same advertiser (currently, this is a hair product company).

Strangely, and unfortunately for the advertiser, I have found myself really, REALLY beginning to dislike the brand. It’s not that I have anything against advertising; when I’m watching TV or listening to the radio, I accept that it’s part of the business model for the medium. They choose what they broadcast, not me.

But Spotify is different. It’s incredibly personalised to me: I can choose exactly what I want to listen to, put them into playlists, and access anything I want whenever I want. Because this feels like a personal experience, it also feels like the advertiser is constantly intruding into my personal space.

I chose to specifically listen to something, not like in broadcast media, where I sit there and think myself lucky for being in front of the TV at the right time if something comes on that I enjoy.

And this advertiser won’t leave my personal space alone. Every 10 minutes, they interrupt MY choices with the exact same grating message. Imagine if a cold-caller kept interrupting your dinner (which YOU chose and prepared) every 10 minutes.

This feels like a problem that future apps are going to have to overcome. The more personalised an experience, the better it is for the user, but the more imposing and rude advertising then feels.

(PS I’m not saying that Spotify should remove adverts for free accounts; I understand that they are currently a necessary part of their business model.)

Leave a Reply