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Is Ad Blocking about to Throw Your Business a Curve Ball?
We all should know that when anything becomes too extreme, there’s a reaction to it. PPC and banner advertising has become an extreme issue for Internet users, particularly the growing segment of mobile device users.
Continuously loading and annoying ads are crippling the customer experience and throttling bandwidth. The demand for ads has become extreme for several reasons, and many businesses have no back up plan if their ads don’t work. To stop the ad noise, new tech companies are creating ad blocking apps, much to the delight of mobile consumers.
Research from Adobe and PageFair found that ad blocking could cost publishers as much as $41.4 billion in 2016 (via Signal.co).
Ad blocking is expected to cause $20 billion/year from ppc and banner advertising to move into content development and customer engagement strategy. If you rely on ads your business could be facing trouble, but if you’re into content marketing and SEO, you could be getting a huge traffic injection. Ad blocking will change your digital marketing strategy and will present you with an opportunity to knock out your competitors who are dependent on online advertising.
One simple concept: Create free content for highly understood audiences and distribute via Google organic and personal social media connections
Advertising Automation vs Ad Blocking
If you’re about to hold your next big digital marketing launch event to present programmatic advertising and automated marketing solutions, you may not want to invite Louis D. Lo Praeste. He’s a thought leader on the future of online marketing, and he says traditional and automated digital marketing are doomed.
Yet, according to the findings of one study, the global marketing automation sector is set to grow from $3.65 billion in 2014 to $5.5 billion in 2019 (via @jeffbullas). If ad blocking grows, will marketing automation be affected?
Digital or social marketing is contracting the advertising market as a whole… I predict by January 2017, the market will contract further in that direction, towards wiping out the double-digit gains in digital of the last four years. I predict 1/2 to 2/3 of these companies will cease to exist in the next biennium.
And Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Bing are especially dependent on advertising and thus vulnerable to the anti-adspam revolution.
Lo Praeste points to the peaking rise of ad spam noise and the resulting use of ad and pop up banning apps, combined with the shortened attention spans of web and social media users. It’s hitting critical mass. He doesn’t leave us without hope though — he adds that customer engagement and return on customer relationship will become the hot new trend. It’s not the end of automation, but rather a change in how businesses can reach and impact their target market.
Do you believe marketers are dialed into customer touchpoints and engagement, particularly large companies using automated marketing software and digital advertising? Lo Praeste believes they create a poor customer experience, pollute the online marketing ecosystem, and cause people to reject the persistent ad platforms.
Lo Praeste points out how ineffective and non-engaging advertising is, despite database-driven personalization. As ad intensity increases, return on relationship falls.
Further, he suggests the segmented marketing campaign model which most of us still operate by is no longer relevant and will be replaced by marketing processes that are strategic, learning, continuous and open ended — in perpetual beta. This same idea was mentioned by another excellent thought leader, Paul Roetzer, author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint, which is a landmark book for all digital marketers.
It might be that digital marketers are moving to perpetual beta marketing programs that incorporate feedback, learning and adaptation for the next campaign period. The old model of 4 campaigns per year where a set of related features and benefits are presented in a timed fashion may not work well because they won’t have enough impact, relevance and will consequently be blocked out.
The perpetual beta model means digital marketing will be more about iterative learning and improving targeting and engagement — to optimize the customer experience, respond personally to customers, and engage on an emotional and highly relevant level.
Google is Always Involved
Did you notice that Google changed its ad format recently? They deleted the sidebar ads and now 4 ads appear at the top. If you recall, Google came to power in the search game by displaying no ads — that was key to why they beat Yahoo, MSN, Altavista, Excite, and all the rest. For the last 10 years, they’ve cluttered the opening screen above the fold completely with ads. Then they changed the free organic results to favor big established brands, then reduced the number of search results on the page, to as few as 7. That’s not good value for users.
Even when Google targets ads, it’s annoying. Their new RankBrain algo update claims to know what people are looking for next and can place ads for products they’re likely looking for. But they always seem to be one step behind. Remarketing ads persist after the viewer visited an advertiser’s site. You’ve probably found yourself being stalked by ads from that point on. No one likes them.
The ad blocking software that’s becoming more popular is only the tip of the iceberg. Even irrelevant search results and social media posts may be treated with disgust. More people are pushing the mute button on their connections posts. Read this great post on Search Engine Land.
This stat above should tell you to avoid relying on advertising solutions. Instead, your marketing campaign could be more successful by providing more value right from the start. By building Trust, Credibility, and Real Value, you in effect will get whitelisted by your prospects.
Since customers/prospects will ignore big companies that use high pressure, agitating ads, and withhold content from ad blocker users, you can offer that same information without blackmail or charges. When consumers realize they can get info and experiences without agitation, they will prefer your website.
Ad blocking and aversion will impact Facebook and other major publishers. Apple is fully onboard with ad blocking since users love it. Samsung may feel pressured to follow.
Alternative to Automated Marketing and Advertising
If you can’t advertise or reach consumers via ad-funded web portals, you will have to revert to organic methods that provide return on relationship.
If Google persists with unwanted ads, there may be a big switch to other search engines such as DuckDuckGo. It started out as a real time search engine that brought very fresh search results. Try DuckDuckGo and see if it works as well as Google. It gives you a lot of results with only 2 small text ads.
Will we need to learn to optimize for a brand new search engine like DuckDuckGo? Searchers are also asking questions to search engine because they’re better at understanding what we’re asking and giving good answers. Quora is a search engine that helps people get answers — thus making it a finding engine.
Whatever way you build reach and generate new visitors, you need to be very good at converting them. If your pitch, introduction, value offer and customer experience isn’t relevant and top notch, you’ll lose visitors and customers fast.
For these reasons, you need very high quality, thought leader type content driven by an extremely good, significant, personalized, unique value proposition. If you haven’t studied unique propositions, you need to get into it.
An Alternative to Digital Advertising Campaigns
- Dig deep on your unique value proposition and match it up to a deep customer profile
- Focus on building relationships and return on relationship
- Design new content based on lifestyles
- Be transparent, truthful, and engaging
- Create relevant, high quality content as the medium of customer relationships
- Build a reputation as a thought leader – the goto resource that eliminates the need for push marketing solutions
- Do visual content marketing where your useful content is found and shared by customers
- High quality videos optimized for appearance on Youtube
- Recognize the mobile device interface and how customers experience your mobile website
- Build out your social media presence and engage customers authentically in the way they prefer
If you know of companies/marketers struggling with digital marketing effectiveness, send them this post. The thrust of these blog posts is to promote quality organic connections with prospective customers. Content marketing, SEO, and social media continue to be the most effective and cheapest route to marketing success. My titles? Digital Marketing Strategist San Diego, SEO Toronto, SEO Vancouver, and Realtor marketing Boston.
Contact me if you need to plan and execute a solid digital marketing program. I’d be glad to help.