Over the last decade, the advent of the internet has completely reshaped the way that companies reach their customers. One of the many ways that the digital environment has transformed this relationship is through paid internet advertising.
Not only does the internet provide an unprecedented global reach, it makes it possible to accurately track key performance indicators and refine your target audience in ways that was not possible in the past. With capabilities like this, it is no wonder why digital advertising has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Recently, another internet trend has emerged that may pose a risk to the internet advertising goliath: ad blockers. In this post, we will explore the growth of these ad blocking services and what it means for the future of how companies advertise online.
The Current Impact of Ad Blocking
According to the latest report published by Adobe, there are over 45 million people actively using ad blockers - a 48% increase from their previous report. Even though this only represents 16% of the United States population, companies should take notice:
Even in this early stage of adoption, Adobe estimates that ad blocking has already resulted in an astounding $21.8B loss in global revenue during 2015.
The threat will not be limited to businesses that rely on selling ad space on their websites for revenue as growth of ad block usage continues. The companies purchasing this ad space as a medium to reach their customers must also prepare to confront this challenge.
Fighting Back With Ad Blocker Blockers
Some websites that rely on selling ad space for revenue have already responded by detecting and blocking visitors using ad blockers. Normally this is accompanied by a notification that requests that the visitor add their website to a ‘whitelist’ or purchase an ad-free subscription.
While this strategy may be effective in the short term, ad blockers are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. In addition, this recourse is limited to websites who rely on advertisements for revenue, not the companies using the advertisements themselves.
The Rise of Earned Media and Content Marketing
The most promising response to the rise of ad blockers is shifting towards an organic approach to attract customers: i.e. content marketing and earned media.
Content marketing involves creating valuable content that is relevant to your target audience's needs. This kind of marketing could be in the form of a blog, whitepapers, ebooks, or video content.
Using high-value content will help to build relationships with potential customers and to increase the credibility of your business. These relationships not only help to attract new customers, but can always increase the lifetime value of those customers.
Tweets, Facebook posts, comments, and recommendations from friends all represent different forms of earned media. More broadly, it refers to any media promoting your products or services published by entities independent of your company.
Not only is this form of internet marketing independent from paid advertising space that can be blocked, they are far more effective than traditional paid advertisements. According to a survey from Nielsen, “92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.”
What it Means for Your Business
With the rising popularity of ad blockers, relationships and two-way communication are becoming ever more important. This trend combined with instant access to information and the ability to compare different products in seconds has empowered consumers to be more discerning in which companies they choose to do business with.
As the landscape shifts, businesses must remain aware of the challenges ahead. The impact of traditional advertising and marketing is deteriorating to make way for a future where companies will be rewarded based on how well they cultivate relationships rather than how much they spend for well placed ads.
Tell us in the comments if you’ve already felt the consequences of ad blocking and how you’ve responded! And check out our next post for an in-depth look at content marketing so your company will be ready for the dynamic future of marketing.