It’s no secret. Display advertising has poor performance, and low engagement. We often hear, “Hey, you’re doing great if you get a click-through-rate over 1%!”

… 1%?

There are plenty of articles out there about placement, design and technology for maximizing digital & display advertising. Digging into the real reasons why engagement is so low, however, is a territory many advertisers are loathe to explore. Here we go:

Display advertising interrupts.

We’ve all been there. Deep in the “ooo”s of Google, the perfect piece of content beckons. It’s going to solve all of our problems. The link is clicked, and the website loads… then BAM! popover. Even worse – a popover with a TIMER.

I don’t know about you, but first impressions are everything to me. And if I met someone who instantly irritated me, I’d have a hard time buying something from them.

Banner ads are ignored.

And not the tolerated kind of ignored like email spam is. It seems as though we now instantly recognize the common shapes of a banner ad and instantly ignore the content. I can’t remember the last time I have ever clicked on a banner ad. And I’m not alone. The Center for Media Research conducted a study in 2014 that shows that over 73% of Americans completely ignore banner ads. Check the brief out here.

People are blocking your ads.

Yep. It’s a pretty sad story – we marketers have annoyed enough people to have our very presence blocked by a free browser plugin. It’s such a problem, that a few publications who rely on advertising dollars to exist won’t let ad-blocking software users access their sites until the plugin is disabled. Now, Americans aren’t nearly as bad at ad-blocking as some other countries, but over 10% of American users today block ads.

So what do we do?

So if display ads aren’t working, what can you do? My advice: strive for meaningful interactions with people. As soon as you shift your attention from attempting to capture every set of eyeballs out there to capturing the right attention, your engagement will go up. Then provide amazing value for your tribe, free of charge, and you have the recipe for success. That’s where inbound marketing enters the picture.

Please, stop interrupting. Start attracting.