Though ad blocking has existed for years, it’s recently become a major concern in the ad tech world. The use of ad blocking increased 48% in the United States over the past year and has been further amplified by Apple’s support of ad-blocking apps in IOS9 and by the likes of Howard Stern and The New York Times. It’s a costly concern too – according to a study by PageFair, publishers stand to feel the brunt of ad blocking to the tune of an estimated $21.8 billion this year alone!
Though marketers do not lose money directly on blocked ads (the software prevents ads from being served in the first place), they could soon be impacted. Premium inventory will become limited, making it only a matter of time before the financial burden passes onto them. Add to the mix the stresses of viewability and ad fraud, and it’s understandable that marketers are growing increasingly concerned.
Unfortunately for digital marketers, unlike much-anticipated Super Bowl commercials, consumers simply don’t visit websites looking forward to viewing the ads on the page. But marketers shouldn’t panic. They can – and should – take action to improve the consumer experience, creating environments where users will want to engage with – not block – their ads.
- Mix it up. Develop a well-rounded marketing mix that includes email, social, programmatic TV, search, and even print to connect with consumers at the right time and place, throughout their path to purchase.
- Rethink your strategy. Thirty percent of consumers block ads because they find them disruptive and intrusive. Therefore, building unobtrusive, hyper-targeted messaging to capture consumer attention will be critical to success. Consider rethinking strategies like constant retargeting or cookie bombing, arguably driven by outdated attribution methodologies.
- Manage reach and frequency. Similarly, persistent user IDs can provide marketers with the ability to effectively control how many times a user is exposed to a single message across screens and formats, relieving consumers of ad fatigue and providing a better experience overall.
- Use ad blocking to your advantage. Though it might seem counter-intuitive to think that ad blocking has any benefits, it could actually help marketers drive conversion. In a sense, ad blocking helps marketers trim the fat of their audience down to only those most likely to engage anyway. So impressions may become more expensive, but price per conversion could very well go down.
In a time when digital advertising has become highly stigmatized for being overcrowded and ostentatious, ad blocking could be the catalyst marketers need to take a step back and regain sight of their ultimate goal – to build trust and loyalty with their target audience.