Ad blocking is one of the biggest obstacles for digital marketers. Before ad blocking software emerged and gained traction, display ads had been the cornerstone of many marketing campaigns. Now, when such ads can be easily blocked, marketers are faced with a problem: they’re left without a tool they have relied on for years (in light of this, it might be hard to believe that ad blocking improves marketing in some way).
Display ads were as popular as crazy. Companies were investing in this form of advertising to improve their brand awareness, boost conversion, and ensure loyalty of customers. At some point, banner ads, pop-ups, and auto-play videos took up the whole internet space, leaving almost no blank space for eyes to rest.
Understandably, this oversaturation of ads annoyed users, and the demand for ad blocking software grew. Unfortunately for marketers and fortunately for the rest of the world, it did not take much for tech entrepreneurs to come up with a solution.
The Continuous Rise Of Ad Blocking
Ad blocker usage is growing steadily.
Back in 2014, only 15.7% of users in the US were using ad blocking software on their devices. In less than 5 years, this number has almost doubled. Now nearly one-third of Americans (30.1%) confirm using an ad blocker. Experts predict that the number will more than double by 2020.
Since ad blocking is gaining traction, it makes no sense for marketers to ignore or resist the change. A much smarter approach would be to accept the shift happening in the advertising ecosystem and find ways to adapt.
Ad Blocking Improves Marketing: Here’s Why
Here at StopAd, we are convinced that ad blocking is changing online marketing for the better. Given the current state of online advertising, marketers should rather see ad blocking software as a blessing in disguise. Below are three reasons why.
Ad Blocking Forces Marketers To Improve Standards
People don’t hate ads. They hate low-quality, annoying, highly intrusive marketing messages fighting for their attention wherever they go online. It is believed that an average internet user sees up to 5,000 online ads daily, and most of them are painfully below-the-standard.
There are grounds to assume that ad blocking will make marketers start looking for better ways of doing their job. The goal of marketers today is rather clear: do marketing in a way that people won’t want to block. Ideally, do it in a way people will admire.
“We live in the “opt-out” age. As a consumer, if you don’t want to see ads, you don’t have to. There are ad blockers, premium platform subscriptions, and other measures you can take to rid yourself of ads altogether. So, the number one priority in order to stay in front of these qualified users needs to be the user experience, because the rationale behind why a consumer would opt out of ads or block them all together is that it is disrupting their experience. You need to have messaging, creative, and targeting that speaks as closely to the user as possible. It needs to feel and be personalized to them, and designed to help them—not sell them.“
Patrick A. Kreidler, Digital Account Manager at Power Digital Marketing
Ad Blocking Can Saves Marketers Money
Surprisingly (or not), ad blocking can save marketers money. And that’s another reason why ad blocking improves marketing, not vice versa.
Ad blocking is a budget saver for both types of marketers: those who still want display ads as a part of their strategy and those who choose to quit online ads altogether.
Don’t quite understand how it happens? Let us explain.
Ad blocking serves as a clear indicator that people don’t want to see ads. It means there is no sense in spending an ad budget trying to reach these people by the means of banners or pop-ups. If you’re a marketer who is not yet ready to ditch display ads altogether, you should thank ad blockers for cutting off users who would waste your ad budget anyway.
What’s more, display ads are rather expensive. Did you know that ranking for highly competitive keywords costs companies more than $50 per click? That’s a lot of money. Imagine your goal is to make 2,000 people click. This translates into $100,000. With this budget, you can easily run an influencer marketing campaign (or several) that will drive sales, not just clicks on a colorful banner.
When you start counting, it becomes clear that display ads are no longer a guaranteed smart investment—especially, if you remember that most people hate such ads and choose to ignore them, at best.
“Advertising is the business of interruption. Consumers have been adapting to interruptive marketing for decades and ad blocking is simply a digital evolution of consumers’ adaptation to interruptions. As the consumer attention span shortens, interruption marketers have to compete too hard for too little attention for way too much money.”
Prince Ghuman, Neuromarketing Instructor at 15Center
Ad Blocking Makes Value-Added Marketing a Strategy of Choice
Slowly but surely, the world is moving away from interruptive “buy-buy-buy” marketing and recognizes the importance of treating customers with respect. The rise of ad blocking serves as a catalyst for this change. Again, this means that ad blocking improves marketing on a global level.
As the efficiency of display ads drops, marketers are left with no choice but to look for better ways of reaching their marketing goals. By now it’s clear that pushing harder and being even more intrusive won’t work, so the smartest of them try the opposite–a more gentle, customer-first approach. Also known as value-added marketing, this approach is a promise of a better future for everyone involved: brands, marketers, and customers.
“Don’t force your customers to look at your product and listen to your arguments on why it’s great. Provide them with something of value instead. Are you an olive oil brand? Kill the banner ads and put up YouTube cooking videos. Are you a writer trying to sell a book? Forget about placements on websites and instead write bits and pieces of free articles including excerpts from your book linking back. The age of being able to just serve up advertisement to consumers and having them watch and engage with nothing in return is gone. The only way to stay top of mind of your customers now is to serve them up relevant, engaging and helpful content.”
Melanie Balke, Head of European Markets & Growth Strategist at BAMF Media
Ad Blocking vs. Marketing: Is There A Compromise?
Ad blocking is triggering big changes in the online advertising ecosystem. Display ads, which used to be a tried-and-true marketing tool, are gradually becoming a thing of the past. Apart from stopping ads, top-tier ad blocking software blocks browser tracking, too. This means that marketers will have to find better ways of learning the wants and needs of their customers.
The ad blocking trend means many changes for marketers. Inconvenient at first, these changes will likely take marketing to the next level. It is safe to say that globally, ad blocking improves marketing.
So far, as changes only start to happen, marketers should learn the best practices of doing marketing in ad-blocking age and keep a bigger picture in mind. Because eventually, everything will fall right into place.