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Quartz president Jay Lauf on how to fix online ads – ‘it’s an empathy problem’

Jay Lauf, the president of digital news outlet Quartz, has weighed in on the many issues facing publishers regarding their online advertising output.

Framing the debate from the perspective of the consumer, Lauf said that “people are fed up with ads that get in their way, slow down load times, and seem designed mostly to trick them”.

He said that it is these issues, “a design problem,” driving the rise in ad blockers among content consumers.

“Advertisers are so fixated on blasting through the noise and publishers are so desperate to monetize that they haven’t noticed just how bad this whole experience has become for the people who matter most — their audiences.”

With this approach Lauf claims Quartz’s ad experience was designed so “users come first… from a position of both principle and pragmatism”.

Vowing to stay away from pop-ups, incorrectly labelled sponsored material, intrusive video ads and more, the publisher looks to build a bond with readers, creating first of all a user friendly experience, and second of all ads they can enjoy and engage with.

He concluded: “Advertising works better when users are respected, which creates a strong business. All of this begins with empathy.”

Read Lauf’s full post on Medium.

Last week Stephen Lepitak, The Drum editor, got under the hood of Quartz, with exclusive insight from Lauf on the upstart media brand.

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