According to Pagefair, the global authority on adblocking trends, at least 615 million devices now use ad blocking softwares. Recent reports have also shown startling statistics that the number of individuals using ad blockers will double within the coming year or two.
People are not-so-silently hating advertisements. They’re tired of clunky, bandwidth-intensive ads frequenting their screens. It’s the truth that underpins the foundation of the ad blocking phenomenon. Consequently, ad blockers limit the advertising industry’s unprecedented access to online consumers.
So here’s the thing about ad blocking
At its simplest, ad blockers are apps, plugins or browser extensions that alter or block ad content on a page. These can vary from the obvious, like banner and pop-up ads, and those operating in the background, such as trackers that log user’s online activity.
It’s actually nothing new. It’s been around for decades but now, more than ever, it’s serving as a catalyst for change in advertising and media.
So is it all gloom ad doom for brands and advertisers alike? No. Definitely not.
Where do we go from here?
Ad blocking proliferation is driving a new period of introspection and accountability for marketers.
Its policy and features are constantly changing, so it’s quite tricky for both brands and advertisers to know next steps to make. In the anticipation of how prevalent consumer inertia can be, it’s now all about attribution, deliverability and quality of ad experience. Below, we’ll touch on six tips on how to conquer and win the ad blocking world.
It’s all about creativity
Recent research shows that marketers think ad blocking can be a good thing. In a study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) 76% of marketers who participated felt that in the year ahead, it can push marketers to be more creative about how they engage with customers. Digital marketing should go beyond simply advertising and promotion experienced materially through pixels. Nowadays marketers need to create compelling, contextual content. There is a need to spruce up all online assets, from online banner ads to sponsored Instagram posts to long-form content marketing to augmented reality. This next phase for the ad industry should begin with an understanding of what truly creates value for consumers.
Respect and Relevance
Customer experience is moving up the business agenda, as it clearly should. Based on how the landscape is evolving, marketers should be prepared to adapt their campaigns, target carefully and show some respect for consumers. This means timing your ads to appear without interrupting nor intruding. When your ads appear during natural breaks in any online activity, users are less likely to be annoyed. Provide content that is relevant to the app or site where your ad appears. Successful advertising is now about respecting user behavior.
Mobile may be your main key to your digital strategy, or perhaps its newest proponent. The specter of widespread mobile ad blocking is also in the horizon, though – as evidenced by the contentious impact it made in recent years, it’s just not worth it to the average user. People can’t be bothered to install and enable these mobile ad blockers. So it’s more likely that the relatively large-scale adoption of desktop ad-blocking will not be replicated on mobile. Mobile ads drive higher ROI and they are less costly. Also, people spend a lot of their time on an app when using a mobile device and out of reach of the majority of ad blockers.
One possible new channel to consider is native advertising. Native ads are, for the most part, unobtrusive. Also known as sponsored content, native ads are content produced in partnership with a publisher following their style and voice. They blend naturally into the user’s experience and content journey. Basically, it’s advertising dressed up like content and when done right, it adds value to the publisher, the brand and the consumer. Because of the nature of its aesthetic and format, it’s less susceptible to ad blocking and it gives advertisers the opportunity to shape consumer perception and further drive brand awareness.
Search is here to stay
A successful SEO strategy is more vital than ever. Ad blockers are effectively directing users to natural search results. Inevitably, with organic links reaching the top spot in the results page of search engines for users with ad blockers enabled, the organic search space will become more competitive. So make sure your pages are optimized, it should fulfill user intent and your keywords should be used in the right proportions. After all, organic search is how search marketing began and using search engines will remain the most viable option for the users to find new information.
Social media offers flexible platforms that can withstand the time of ad blockers. Take Facebook for example, their brand content policy allows advertisers and brands to share ads in the form of branded content with help from Verified pages. Social media ads are a nod to native advertising, brands can seamlessly post content into user feeds, allowing them to blend in the user experience with the possibility of even driving user engagement just as long as they follow a couple of guidelines. There’s another reason why this approach works. It gives people options. Users can scroll past an ad if they don’t like it, or engage with the ad if they do. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all allow users to hide ads or see fewer ads similar to that one.
The advertising industry is up against the use and growth of ad-block technology and the landscape will continue to evolve and changes will continue to affect advertisers and media owners alike. But there are workable ways for advertisers to reach their audience. Now, it all lies on adapting and future-proofing your marketing strategy.
People are open to sharing their online experience with ads as part of the cyber world. The clear caveat is that the ads being displayed should not be disruptive or annoying. Optimize your content to enhance and value the user experience. Leveraging existing data and utilizing new marketing techniques allows you to create and serve content that is truly engaging, targeted and as non-intrusive to the desired target audience as possible.
If you follow best practices, a lot of people around the globe are willing to look at what you want them to see.