At the end of January, President-CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Randall Rothenberg railed against for-profit ad blockers for “…stealing from publishers, subverting freedom of the press, operating a business model predicated on censorship of content and ultimately forcing consumers to pay more money for less and less diverse information.”
While digital ads may be invasive and annoying at times, or difficult to distinguish from non-commercial content in the case of native advertising, the reality is that they help pay for the use of otherwise free content like video streaming services, news, and other websites that people all over the Internet use for informative and entertainment purposes. They serve a real purpose and help advertisers deliver marketing content to users directly on the platforms they are getting more heavily involved in each coming year.
Rothenburg did concede that the reason for the rise of ad-blocking software is a sign of unhappiness with the online experience of potential customers. Ad-blocking software is going to force digital ads to deliver lighter content that is safer, more privacy-friendly and less invasive. Whether you agree with Mr. Rothenburg that ad-blocking is the scum of the earth or not, the reality is that as an advertiser whether for your own business or on behalf of other companies, the world of digital advertising is changing. You are going to have to get more innovative and creative with how you get your marketing message out there.
While ad-blocking software has done a great job at disabling pop-up ads, they still have a harder time disabling paid social media advertising like promoted content on Twitter or Instagram that shows up directly in user’s feeds. Paid Facebook advertising is also still a safe space for advertisers for that reason, and they are a better sell as their robust targeting abilities make sure that your message is delivered into the open arms of customers who are showing interest and are in the right zip codes. Some for-profit ad-blocking companies offer to help block even suggested content in your news feed for a pretty penny. However, Apple has set out to prevent ad-blocking applications from being sold in their App store or from working on their mobile devices and tablets. As more and more users move from desktop to mobile, social media networks remain a safe space for digital advertisers.
If social media is not a strong place to invest for advertising in your industry, there is another option. Pre-roll.
You know how you can’t get rid of that pesky video ad before you try to figure out what the deal is with Beyonce’s “Formation” music video on YouTube? Good. Making sure that you are going through major channels to publish your digital advertising can be a major bonus in bypassing ad-blocking software. A tweak to Google did not go unnoticed back in September, as it effectively circumvented all ad-blocking software for video ads. Google is going to work hard to protect the revenue stream that YouTube brings in, so continuing to put your digital advertising budget towards 0:15 or 0:30 second pre-roll spots is going to be a pretty safe bet going forward. Hulu remains pretty safe as well, and allows for some longer pre-roll spots.
Many advertisers are finding creative ways to make use of these pre-roll spots. Check out this pre-roll spot from Tier10:
“Movie Night” 2016 Acura MDX, ILX, TLX (:30) from Tier10 on Vimeo.
The changing digital landscape is no place for fear as long as you are romancing the right suitors. Court social media networks and video-streaming services that put stock in the ad revenue stream and you should feel safe to promote your message to digitally-consuming potential customers. That’s our recipe for marketing love.
Sources: Wall Street Journal, AdAge, AdAge Digital