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How ad blocking can inspire better advertising

How ad blocking can inspire better advertising

Apple’s recent release of iOS 9 has paved the way for apps to block cookies, pop-ups, and banner ads in the Safari browser. Android users have had access to similar functionality, and desktop apps for both Mac and PC have been available for quite some time now.

Ad blocking technologies perform a variety of functions that prevent ads from displaying to you, and from tracking you. To limit advertising from being seen, the technology does a variety of things including blocking pop-up windows, preventing external scripts used to serve ads, and blocking cookies used to track you.

If your company is currently advertising online, then this technology could be causing you significant concern. The proliferation of this technology on desktop, and now mobile, platforms, however, can teach digital marketers more about our audience, though, and these are lessons worth learning.

Let’s have a look at how ad blocking affects the digital marketing industry, and what it can mean for your paid digital marketing campaigns.

What do they block and how do people use them?

Ad blockers are extremely efficient at removing certain types of ads. They often focus on those that are the most annoying, such as pop-up ads, ads with animation and ads with audio that auto play. They also have a heavy focus on preventing user tracking and profiling. Most ad blocking solutions can block almost any type of ad, including banner ads, pop-up ads, overlay ads, and even ads in search engine results pages.

Despite the increasing number of products in this space, data shows that more users are viewing and clicking on digital ads than ever before. A recent Roy Morgan survey estimates that 1.6 million Australians click ads at least once within a four-week period, which represents an increase of 50% compared to 2011.

So if ad blocking is becoming widespread, why are more people clicking ads than ever before?

One of the most popular ad-blocking solutions “Ad Block Plus” conducted a survey that shows less than 25% of their users want all ads removed. Ipso facto, three-quarters of our audience that are happy to view advertisements online, provided they are of interest, relevant and unobtrusive. Some users use ad blockers only to block ads on specific sites as well.

So it seems that the general public are not necessarily against advertising on websites. They are only against the annoying ones.

A notable exception to the rule is the Millenials, as there is a significantly higher percentage of people in this demographic who seek to exclude all ads from their browsing experience.

How to reach those who block all advertising?

Based on widely accepted research, most 14 to 24-year-olds are extremely internet savvy and dislike ads. This age range has the highest usage of ad blocking technology and is the most likely to block all ads, not just the intrusive ones. So how do you market to these people?

The answer is to look at some of the newer forms of marketing including content marketing, and social media marketing. While this age-range is the least fond of advertising, they are also the largest consumers of content, and the most active on trending social media networks.

If you are finding that your market isn’t responding to display or search engine marketing, it is worth investing in other forms of digital marketing. Approaches include video marketing, social media marketing, blogging, and more that can do a much better job of engaging with your audience.

What can we learn from ad blocking?

As digital marketers, we can take a very clear message from ad blockers. Most people accept advertising in websites, as long as it’s relevant, and doesn’t interfere with their browsing experience.

There is now an increased incentive to create more compelling and relevant marketing content, and utilize targeting methods to deliver that content to audiences that are more likely to engage with it. Technology available to digital marketers today allows us to focus our message accurately and refine that targeting data with information received from our end users and publishing platforms.

Content publishers, who display advertising on their websites, are also receiving a definite recommendation to implement quality control or risk losing revenue. Allowing advertising that produces pop-up windows, plays audio, or has flashing (or otherwise annoying) animation is a sure way to lose your audience, and lose advertising as a revenue stream.

Final thoughts

If ad blocking is negatively impacting your advertising campaigns, perhaps consider the following questions:

  • Are my ads annoying or intrusive?
  • Are my ads being targeted to the right audience on the right channels?
  • Is my audience receptive to this type of advertising?

What are your thoughts on Adblocking? Let me know on twitter @nathan5ri

Metrixa can help you develop a marketing strategy that engages with your target audience to help ensure your message is being heard. We’d be happy to have a chat about how we can help anytime. Try our Free AdWords Audit.

Image licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr