Consumers often use the option to block intrusive ads from interfering with their content consumption experience. The Financial Times, referring to a recent report by a company that helps advertisers get around ad blockers, estimated that over 200 million people now use some form of ad-blocking software on their desktops or laptops, and over 419 million use such software on their mobile devices.
While consumers have increasingly voted to have an option to block irrelevant advertisements, research has shown that they want to continue viewing advertising that is relevant or meaningful. The problem with most ad-blocking software is that they are often unable to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant ads. As a result, consumers often miss what they may want to see.
On the one hand, widespread use of such blockers affect large online advertisers as it lowers their return on investment. On the other, consumers want an uninterrupted advertisement-free experience for premium content for which they pay a subscription fee. Google, for example, serves no advertisements on premium platforms such as YouTube Red.
Ad-blocking software outrages publishers as they rely on traditional banner advertisement or video ads for their revenue. They argue that good content does not come free and consumers need to pay for consuming content either directly via subscription or through advertising viewership – preferably both. Many publishers have now started tracking consumers that install these blockers and do not serve content to them.
To build a successful marketing strategy, online advertising should be dovetailed into an integrated content marketing strategy. This includes both on-page and off-page activities to drive traffic to content relevant to consumers. Most ad blockers work by blocking traffic from certain IPs that serve ads. However, if a publisher serves both content and ads from the same server, it is unlikely that ads on the content pages will be blocked. In addition, publishers who have greater control are likely to serve better content on their pages.
Users will continue to watch relevant advertising. They are looking to engage in more relevant brand experiences and want messages that are contextualized. Today, advertising requires hyper-personalization and needs to be built with the consumer at the centre of content and messaging. The aim is to promote user-generated content in terms of reviews, likes and forwards. Passive consumption of ads is being replaced with users who want to engage actively in sharing, reviewing and recommending products.
Companies need to engage with their customers across multiple channels and manage paid, owned and earned content and create engaging multi-channel content experiences. This includes creating and moderating social forums and blogs for products and brands that link back to owned and paid content channels.
Active engagement across channels helps create measurable engagement metrics and help generate quantifiable and reliable measures for return on investment. It also increases traffic to owned properties and improves consumption of campaigns delivered via the web or mobile sites as opposed to content pushed on email, SMS or mobile apps. Engagement metrics helps organizations tailor their content marketing strategy to achieve business by lowering cost per lead as well as marketing objectives. Overall, content metrics are met irrespective of the use or abuse of ad blocking software on the web or otherwise.