Is ad blocking on your radar? If not, it should be. In December 2016, it was estimated that 11% of the global internet population was blocking ads, which equates to approximately 615 million devices.
Closer to home, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) research indicates that roughly 30% of Australian consumers are now using ad blocking technology on at least one device. Combine this with the fact that there has been a 30% growth in global ad blocking usage in the past year, and it’s clear to see that this is a trend that is unlikely to just fade away.
So, who is most likely to ad block? Men are 34% more likely than women to use ad blocking software, and those under the age of 35 are more likely again. If you’re a brand or marketing manager targeting this elusive group known as ‘Millennials,’ or if you’re trying to target the emerging ‘life is about finding passion & purpose Gen Zs’, you’ll probably want to read on.
Ad blocking has been around for quite a while now and data from the Page Fair report (2017), states that the total number of devices using ad blocking software grew by 142 million year-on-year (108 million of the new ad blocking devices were mobile). Interestingly, the Asia-Pacific region has the highest uptake of mobile ad blockers out of any region globally.
It’s a really big deal because generating, hosting and publishing content isn’t cheap. It’s often easy to forget that ad revenue enables the free distribution of your favourite online content… You know, that blog you love to read, or that news website you check every day. Chances are the content is freely available because of revenue generated through online advertising.
One ad blocking study noted that 56% of ad blocking users from the UK were not aware that blocking ads means a website will lose revenue. The same study found that once educated of the fact, 65% of ad blocking users are no more or less likely to stop using the software.
With ad blocking becoming commonplace for some demographics, how can we sidestep the issue and ensure we can still reach the people who just want to be left alone?
The good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, key findings from a recent report by Page Fair has found that ad block usage is mainly driven by specific problems with the delivery of online advertising, and is not a rejection of digital advertising itself.
So, at BCM we’ve compiled 5 ways to deliver advertising beyond the reach of ad blockers.
Native ads can take the form of an article, video or graphic. The main difference is that they’re ‘disguised’ to look like content that would normally appear natively. A link may be posted on a website but is made to look like any other piece of content on that page. Normally native ads appear within a contextually relevant page; for example, a native ad for a sports retailer may be posted in a sports news publication. Native ads generally work well to deliver the right message to the right people within a relevant context.
Sponsored content or influencer campaigns is another form of native advertising that can be a terrific way to reach an audience who may otherwise be blocking ads left, right and centre. Through use of advertorials or sponsored social posts, brands are able to make use of the earned influence to help promote their message.
The great thing about influencers are that they have earned their audience over time. Therefore, they are more likely to have impact when they promote a message. The basic idea is that the best way to deliver a branded message to an interested audience is through a voice they trust. As such, using an influencer to promote a product, event or brand can be a great way to by-pass ad blockers and get your message right into the screens of your audience.
Emails remain a very important channel for digital marketing, and if done well can have an extremely impressive ROI. Delivering a tailored email directly into the inbox of interested users can be a great way to get your message, promotion or product in front of an interested user base.
So whether you’re talking to your own email database through a regularly posted eDM, or you’ve purchased space in another company’s newsletter – eDMs can be an extremely effective way to reach a highly engaged audience.
Facebook has done a great deal to ensure it’s not impacted by the ad blocker revolution. It has made the HTML of its web ads indistinguishable from its organic content so it can subtly slip past the ad blocking tech. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me! With the Facebook audience network, advertisers can make use of the robust targeting engine available through the platform and serve ads to people in-app, in-feed or in-article.
As it currently stands, ad blockers cannot affect apps because they don’t play well with third party sources. As such in-app advertising is still an effective way to reach and impact people in an environment that can’t be reached by blocking tools. In addition to this, the rise of mobile usage has increased the amount of time users spend in-app (as opposed to on mobile websites), therefore the quality of in-app inventory has increased dramatically in recent years (gone are the days that in-app inventory = rubbish).
So, there you have it. Five ways to work around ad blockers to get the right message, to the right person, at the right time and place. If you have any thoughts on sidestepping ad blockers I’d love to hear them!
Dave Mooney is a Digital Strategist at BCM