The rising consumption of digital media forged by the accessibility of smart devices (IoT) and social media popularity generated tremendous opportunities for companies to reach audiences in online locations through digital advertising. According to Statista, digital ad spending in 2017 is set to reach $82 billion in the US alone and is estimated to increase $10-12 billion year over year.
In a bid for companies to quickly connect with consumers in the digital space, many inexperienced marketers inundated consumers with an oversaturation of poorly targeted promotional ads. In 2015, people spent about 8 hours per day consuming media through all mediums (tv, internet, radio, etc.) seeing an average of 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, much of which was deemed an irritation. Frustrated with ads, internet users who spend large amounts of time online established a market primed for a solution, thus spawning adblockers. An early 2016 eMarketer report found that around 70 million people (25% of internet users) in the US utilized adblocking software.
Because a majority of internet users do not have an adblock service, companies are still spending billions on digital ads despite the probability of not reaching a portion of the intended audience. The number of adblock users is on the rise, affecting accuracy of digital ads and diminishing revenues from Google and Facebook, who are receiving virtually all of the benefits of the growth in ad spending. This creates a situation where those spending or receiving revenue on digital ads must combat adblock services to ensure their ads will be seen and the value of digital ad placement is palpable.
Here are five ways marketers can get the upperhand in the ongoing battle against Adblock by adding the following digital trends into their strategic arsenal:
Native advertising is a sponsored ad displayed in an online publication that echos the distinct style, look and feel of editorial content with the intent to promote a company’s product or service. Native advertising is constructed to not draw attention away from the content that the consumer is interested in viewing. Rather, it displays information that either complements or correlates to the content the consumer freely views.
According to one study, 64% of people use adblock services because they consider ads annoying and intrusive. Many ads interrupt what a user is doing therefore diminishing user experience. Adblock functions in a way that gives the consumer control over whether or not ads are blocked. Because native ads are immersive and non intrusive, users may actually be interested with this form of advertisement due to its relevance leading to less people with a necessity to use an adblock service. The key to native advertising is clarity, letting the user know what they are reading is sponsored content, and non evasiveness, creating ads that are designed in a similar fashion or relevant to the editorial content the user is voluntarily consuming.
Long has it been known to marketers that personalized ads lead to higher conversions and click throughs. Now rather than relying on assumptions, online tracking technology has given marketers the tools to accurately place digital ads in locations where their audience frequents.
“What this technology is really good at doing is following you from site to site, tracking your actions, and compiling them into a database, usually not by real name, but by a pseudonymous numerical identifier,” said Arvind Narayanan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton, “Nevertheless, it knows when you come back, and it knows to look you up, and based on what it has profiled about you in the past, it will treat you accordingly and decide which advertisements to give you, sometimes how to personalize content to you, and so on.”
The relevancy created by ad targeting is extremely important because a large portion of users find digital advertisements disruptive. Like native ads, proper targeting may decrease the number of consumers that aren’t very fond of digital ads. The reason a majority of users are irritated by online advertising is due to the lack of relevancy of ad placement. If ads are properly targeted to hyper specific user groups then the percent of irked users should decline.
When ads are targeted to the correct audience, there is more of a likelihood that the ad will reach the proper audience thus preserving ad budget and maximizing potential engagement. Ad targeting also improves user reception when ad relevancy is in alignment with the targeted audience. Ultimately, it is more viable that an audience will engage with the ad, and reduces the overall desire for people to use an adblock service.
Advancements in tech and communication platforms like social media have rendered the perception of email as prehistoric and outdated. The facts prove otherwise and actually bring light to the idea that quality email marketing can have an enormous positive impact on the success metrics of marketing and advertising campaigns. One study found that email has a median ROI of 122 percent. The era of smartphones and IoT have allowed the inbox to be omnipresent in the lives of consumers. So it should come as no surprise that email presents an incredible opportunity for companies to remain consistent in an ever changing media landscape.
No matter the perception, the inbox will be at the forefront of marketing and advertising tools to reach target audiences and email marketing and marketing automation are and will remain a crucial tool to meet earnings objectives and drive growth.
The explosion of social media brought about platforms for ordinary people to share their own content and build followings of like-minded people. Because of this advertisers found opportunities to employ digital influencers in a similar fashion as celebrity endorsements to sell their products or services through influencers personal pages.
In 2017 advancements in analytics and tools for brands to search for the right influencer will allow companies to scale out their programs and work with more fluidity to take advantage of even more of the correct influencers plus track specific KPI’s other than reach and traffic. This will create more opportunities for not only larger influencers but will trickle down to smaller influencers or micro influencers. Last year saw the rise of the micro influencers due to the realization that niche audiences create extremely strong connections. Improved targeting functionalities on platforms will allow businesses to work with a large set of micro-influencers rather than just a few larger influencers in 2017. Not to mention, with better tech comes the potential for higher ROI and larger budgets for companies.
Influencer marketing combats adblock because brands and products are incorporated organically into content from real people. This provides authenticity to content because real people are endorsing products or services to their audience who have subscribed, followed or actively sought out a page they’re interested in. The audiences of influencers voluntarily consume the content and trust suggestions from the influencer they follow.
Content marketing is the trump card to ad-blocking. The concept of content marketing in its entirety consists of quality yet relevant content creation unsullied by salesy messaging or obvious advertising that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in products or services. This is done by a company establishing a detailed understanding of it’s target market and creating content that will be willingly consumed.
A customer’s recognition that a brand's content is not intended to be an advertisement or pushing a product they have little interest in will increase engagement, shares, recommendations and revisits to company sites, blogs or social media. A great content marketing strategy is a long term process because creating quality content takes time but is a tremendous way to get the consumer to come to a brand, engage and is a strategy that renders ad-block irrelevant.
While the number of adblock users grows, there is still a large portion of internet users who are not utilizing an adblock service. So traditional methods of digital advertising are still an important factor in reaching the targeted audience. Employing trending marketing tactics that are less affected by adblock services to support in capturing consumer attention can be a great addition to any company's marketing strategy.