AD BLOCKING SERVICES ARE booming because we, marketing people, are failing to create relevant and likable digital advertising. The more intrusive and harassing our advertising becomes, the more people turn to ad blocking.
The ad blocking trend will accelerate even faster thanks to Apple which, for the first time, enabled ad-blocking apps in its new mobile operative system, the IOS 9.
According to Adobe and PageFair ad blocking will cost approximately 22 billion in publisher revenues this year. More than 200 million people worldwide are using ad-blocking software. In the US alone, 45 million people block ads with regularity and these numbers are growing fast, up 41% globally from last year. A dramatic example of this is Poland, where a third of Internet users regularly block advertising.
So far, everyone dancing at the party seems unhappy. With no advertising, who will pay the bills in the Internet world?
With users accustomed to add-free environments in the beginning, innovative media outlets and successful apps struggle to find a way to incorporate advertising without alienating their clients or ¨ruining¨ their user experience.
Advertising agencies face more work than ever before. Due to consumer rejection of intrusive advertising, their creative work now demands more data and analytics, storytelling talent and ingenuity.
Advertisers understand people´s rejection to advertising as ingratitude. There is even talk about the ethics of ad blocking…or ad blocking being the new piracy. They feel like the rich uncle who is paying for the drinks and the DJ but is booed by the guests the minute he dares to make an appearance at the party.
The after-party? Some hangovers, and the credibility and utility of the Internet as a medium, eroded.
Have a look at the following terrifying graph:
Native advertising seems to be the best track to reenergize the dance floor. It seems especially relevant on mobile devices, where interruptive advertising faces the challenge of invading an already limited screen size.
The advantage of the native advertising business model is that it’s not disruptive to any of the parties involved. This model comes from the outbound old school. It’s an evolution of the advertorials from the publishing industry, and of the product placement from the movies. Native advertising matches the unique look and feel of the publication. It is less intrusive and can be very synergic with the content, adding value to it. It also allows the same accountability and analytics as banner-based advertising and follows the PPC model.
The downside is that native advertising makes the creative ad agencies’ work more time consuming, artisanal and negotiated in a real-time, ultra fast paced programmatic war. Ad agencies need to work hand in hand with media outlets and apps in order to create a more integrated branded content.
But this extra effort is very much needed. Instead of reacting to people´s rejection by making our advertising campaigns more aggressive (remarketing, auto-plays, pop-ups anyone?), I wish that we, marketing people, were more integrated and agile at making our ads better targeted, more native and more meaningful.