Will The Rise In Ad Blocking Change Digital Marketing Forever?
Earlier this fall, Apple released their new line of iPhones along with their new operating system, iOS9, that allows users to block ads in Safari. Ad blocking isn’t a foreign practice by any means; but thanks to Apple making it an option on their devices, it may be problematic for digital advertisers charged with delivering ROI for brands on their paid media campaigns.
Just how big of a deal is ad blocking for marketers? According to a joint study conducted by PageFair and Adobe, ad blocking grew by an astonishing 41% since last year and has cost content publishers around the world about $22 billion in 2015.
Ad blocking software is used most by Millennials – a key demographic that marketers are having trouble converting into customers. The primary way many Millennials consume their digital content is through mobile devices. By putting the power of shutting off ads in their hands, the conversion rate is reduced relative to spend for digital marketers around the world.
Whether we like it or not, ad blocking is here to stay. It’s only going to get more powerful and it’s forcing companies to re-evaluate their digital marketing strategy. So, what can you do to help soften the blow?
One way is to put the focus on quality content that would result in better ads. The main reason people are blocking ads is because they’re distracting and create an uncomfortable browsing experience. Instead, careful analysis of the data that guides marketers into targeting a specific audience should be considered. By tapping into an audience’s emotions with rich content, less obtrusive ads are r to consumers, brand loyalty is created, and users will begin to want to engage with a brand’s ads.
Another strategy that’s gaining traction is native advertising. What native advertising does is blend in with the website to provide a pleasant viewing experience for users.
Buzzfeed is notorious for this strategy. Take into account the post “12 Travel Habits That You Will Never Let Go” from the above screenshot. At the bottom, you’ll see “promoted by American Express Canada”. Native advertising makes it seem like ads supposed to be there and matches them with relevant articles. Ultimately, those that click on this specific post are more likely to engage with these ads because they feel like this is what they came to see.
What does the future look like for digital marketers and ad blocking? It’s hard to say – nothing in this industry stays constant for long. Like we said, ad blocking software is here to stay. There’s nothing we can do to get rid of it.
With that being said this isn’t the end of days for digital marketers. We think Naomi Hands from Somo said it best:
The truth of the matter is that people pay far too much money into digital campaigns to let ad blocking software hinder their campaign goals completely. Adaptation to the consumer’s needs is paramount. It’s up to brands and marketers to take step back, analyze their business models, and begin to evolve and adapt to technological innovations.