Some 38% of global internet users employ ad blocking of some kind, taking proactive steps to put a barrier between themselves and the businesses trying to reach them through online advertising. This is a momentous trend that’s gaining steam with users on desktop and mobile alike, blocking $22 billion in ads last year and showing no signs of slowing down soon. This popular tech is threatening the ROI of traditional web advertising strategies and making consumer engagement and e-commerce more difficult. But innovative businesses with the right talent available should be able to endure this trend and even find new opportunities to capture customers’ attention and get ahead of the competition.
Even if you’re an experienced advertising veteran yourself, it’s easy to see why people might find ad blocking attractive. Pop-up ads and noisy auto-play video ads intrude on the user’s experience. Nosy PPC ads track your every move and try to engage you with messaging so personalized, it’s almost creepy. Malicious ads infect computers and steal personal information. Preroll video ads separate you from that hilarious cat video your coworkers are raving about for agonizing 30 seconds. Even relatively innocuous banner or sidebar ads can clutter up a page, hurt load times and put a greater strain on mobile users’ data plans.
Image from PageFair
Fair or not, ad blocking is here to stay–and whining about it isn’t going to shore up those dwindling click through rates. Instead, you’re better off developing contingent strategies and selectively adding certain skillsets to your marketing organization so you can adapt as needed if ad blocking begins to take an unsustainable toll on your digital advertising ROI. When assembling your ad block-proof team, make sure you add these members:
When traditional “push” messaging becomes more difficult, turning to an innovative pull alternative can prove effective. Luring consumers to your business with an entertaining brand, valuable content or engaging experiences bypasses a reliance on digital media buying and digital advertising staffing. Recruit inbound marketers who are able to analytically determine and produce what your customers want most.
Influencer Marketing Managers
There are many ways a key influencer can provide marketing value that sidesteps ad blockers. They can directly engage with your brand, or share their experiences with your product. They can critique or endorse your business to their followers. They can even integrate ads directly into their blogs, podcasts, videos, or social media posts. Regardless, any messaging from your brand that they pass on will be immune to the filters of ad blocking–and come with the added value of association with the influencer’s personality as well as a highly targeted niche audience.
Influencer marketing is a relatively new discipline, and it requires a delicate approach. That’s why bringing in an innovative professional who understands how to engage with them and develop mutually beneficial relationships is so important.
Native Advertising Professionals
It’s relatively easy for ad blocking technology to detect and filter out most kinds of traditional web advertising, from display ads to video rolls to PPC ads. But when an advertisement takes the form and function of a channel’s regular content, it’s nearly indistinguishable and remains viewable to users. Native advertising, driven by the right strategy and executed by the right digital advertising staffing, guarantees visibility on publishers’ sites. And since it’s usually required to be high-quality content surrounded by content of similar value, you’re likely to receive much higher engagement rates than you would with a traditional ad.
SEO Staffing Talent
SEO has changed drastically over the last year, but it remains an important channel for improving brand visibility and driving traffic to your web properties. About half of all web traffic is driven by organic search, meaning users are spending plenty of time on the Search Engine Results Pages. But if the PPC ads that normally appear there are getting blocked, you’ll have to find another way to put your business on the first page. If you’re not already topping the rankings for your most valuable keywords, it’s time to rethink your strategy and acquire elite SEO talent to ensure your target audience has a chance to see you even when blocking your SEM messages.
Social Media Management
Social networks provide channels for brands to directly engage consumers and join conversations outside of the realm of ad blockers. Outstanding social media management enables 1-to-1 discussions, provides brand visibility to the networks you build, and enhances customer experiences. Social posts and shares can even serve as advertisements themselves, though brands should be wary of becoming too self-promotional and scaring off followers.
Bonus: Print and Direct Mail Experts
Though the cutting edge of marketing has largely moved past these traditional channels, they can still reliably deliver surprising ROI among the right demographics with the right strategy and strong direct marketing talent. Of course, direct mail, magazine inserts and the like have their own “ad blocker” to contend with: the trash can. But at least they’ll have an opportunity to end up in your target audience’s hands where consumers have to make a conscious decision to discard your message.
What filter-proof marketing tactics are you turning to in order to overcome the growing trend of ad blocking? What talent is needed to execute them? Let us know in the comments below!