The use of ad blocking grew 30 percent globally in 2016, and 615 million devices now use it.
Facebook has repeatedly made efforts to suppress ad blocking. Google has even gone to great lengths to ban ad extensions, removing them completely from Chrome’s Web Store and Google Play. Yet, despite concerted efforts from media giants, the growth of ad blocking remains rampant.
What are ad blockers?
Ad blockers are easy-to-install browser extensions that act as gatekeepers, removing ads from websites that a user is viewing. With the meteoric rise of ad blocking, BI Intelligence estimates U.S. digital media companies could lose out on as much as $9.7 billion across digital ad formats next year, based on current usage rates. In addition, a recent report revealed that ad blocking could cost publishers $27 billion in lost revenue by 2020. Agencies and brands need to solve this problem now to avoid a significant impact on business.
The challenge for today’s marketers is not about how to attack the ad blockers. The real question is this: how can brands deliver relevant advertising experiences to individuals in such a way that they reduce their use of ad blockers?
Do consumers really not want to see ads?
Consumers don’t want to completely block ads; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. They want to be shown relevant content. According to a recent HubSpot report, 50 percent of people agreed with the statement, “I wish there were a way to ad-filter instead of ad-block completely,” versus 27 percent of respondents who disagreed. Additionally, 68 percent of respondents stated that they are very open to seeing ads if they are not “annoying.”
The biggest challenge ad blocking poses to the industry is also a great opportunity for marketers. According to the PageFair 2017 Adblock report, 37 percent of respondents say they learned about ad blocking from colleagues, family, and friends. Because ad blocking has continued its growth largely due to word of mouth among consumers, marketers have an opportunity to provide those same consumers with innovative and positive brand interactions and generate more favorable conversations about brand experiences.
It is up to the advertising industry to jump at this opportunity and provide consumers with content that makes them feel like they are improving their lives in some way through their interactions with brands.
How can brands respond?
Brands and websites have resorted to various attempts to resist ad blockers. In an effort of recoup some of their costs, many sites that rely on ad revenue have begun installing software that prevents consumers from seeing desired content without first disabling ad blockers. Yet, this is a patchwork solution and actually gives consumers an even less rewarding experience.
At Rise, we’re helping brands respond to ad blockers by creating positive and meaningful consumer experiences through our personalization product, Connex. This combination of machine learning technology, cross-channel data integration, and channel-specific delivery solutions enables us to dynamically serve creative at the most appropriate moments and deliver the best consumer experiences.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say Bob is in the market for a coffee maker, and after a few days of searching online, he pulls the trigger and makes the purchase from Burst Coffee. By leveraging personalization and dynamic creative optimization (DCO), Burst Coffee can then serve an ad to Bob that features multiple types of coffee beans that customers often purchase along with that model of coffee maker. Bob is thrilled about his new coffee maker and in the right mindset to purchase coffee and/or other products that could be used along with it, leading to additional sales for Burst Coffee. The brand succeeded in reaching its customer at the right time with the right content.
As Forrester found in a recent study, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. Delivering relevant, rewarding ad experiences like this example is the best ad blocking antidote for marketers moving forward.
Nancy Hill, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), has said, “Now is the time for advertising professionals and marketers to look at ourselves to understand why consumers are not responding to these types of ads, and figure out how we can correct the issue to better engage with the consumers we’re trying to reach.” If now is the time, then technologies that focus on personalization and DCO are the tools.
To learn more about ad blocking, as well as how our team can help you deliver relevant and engaging experiences, reach out to Rise.