First, the internet existed. Then, internet ads appeared on the scene. One of the first traits of the internet was invasive pop-up ads, banners, and other displays distracting users and trying to convince people to click on the ads. While most people accept distasteful banner ads as a side effect that comes with the Internet, others have taken action. Developers launched ad-blocker tools to prevent invasive displays on webpages, and search engines such as Google have created guidelines for websites that have banner ads.
Instead of pushing against customers, marketers can change their game and advertise to audiences in ways they appreciate. Learn about how today’s online advertiser can get noticed in an age of ad blockers.
Intrusive and Irrelevant Ads Make Customers Install Ad Blockers
Some brands and publishers rail against customers who install ad blockers and try to find ways around these tools. However, customers who lost the trust of publishers to display tasteful and relevant ads often choose the ad-blocking option.
Wells Fargo and Forbes estimate that the display ad industry was worth more than $32 billion in 2016, and $3.8 billion (12 percent) was lost to ad blocking. Over the next five years, this number is expected to accelerate as more people discover the benefits of blocking ads. The display ad industry is expected to grow to $51 billion by 2020, but $12 billion will be lost to ad blockers.
The main companies that stand to lose these billions of dollars are major publishers such as AOL and Yahoo, along with smaller publishers that rely on display engagement revenue to operate. TechCrunch and Business Insider are two publishers that ask customers to disable their ad blockers, with Business Insider refusing to show any content unless the ad blocker is paused.
What publishers, display ad developers, and marketers forget is that terrible online experiences can lead to the rise of ad blockers. If the ads weren’t so intrusive in the first place, then audiences may not be as desperate for ad-blocking solutions.
Marketers Need to Change Their Advertising Goals for Display Ads
One of the most popular phrases in marketing surrounding the internet is that your customer is more likely to get struck by lightning or killed by a vending machine than click on a banner ad. While a perfect situation would involve customers clicking and converting at the same time, internet users don’t click on banner ads. In fact, according to HubSpot, the average CTR for a banner ad is only 0.06 percent. Further, only 2.8 percent of people think banners on websites are relevant.
Along with making displays more effective, markers need to understand where display ads land in the sales funnel. Banner ads aren’t meant for customers to click. They’re meant to trigger brand awareness and inspire a customer to keep a brand in mind. Display ads serve the purpose of operating in the middle of the funnel. Taking these ads away could damage your sales due to decreased exposure and lack of brand memory.
By creating display ads with branding goals in mind, rather than spend time on conversion plans, marketers can develop creative display campaigns that better resonate with customers. They may also become better prepared to evaluate the success of a campaign instead of trying to count the nonexistent clicks.
Display Ads Need to Meet the Needs of Customers
If marketers and publishers are going to win customers back, then they need to improve their display advertising. Publishers and advertisers have a few ways of driving customers to install ad blockers. A few examples include the following:
- Advertising content that the customer has no intention of buying
- Showing the exact same banner ad a dozen times on the same websites
- Creating pop-up ads that cover the entire website or having multiple ads pop up as customers close others
- Using cookies to follow customers around every website they visit
- Sharing invasive retargeting ads seconds after a customer leaves a website
- Failing to kill a retargeting cookie when a customer converts or shows no interest in returning to buy
When asked why they installed ad blockers, 73 percent of customers said the ads were interruptive, and 46 percent of customers said they were annoying, according to an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report. Many of the behaviors above fall into one (or both) of these categories.
A customer browsing for shoes may see dozens of ads for the same pair of shoes around the web for weeks after the person visits an online store. This practice is annoying and could make the individual unlikely to buy the more the ads appear. While retargeting can be effective, it’s often done so poorly that the practice drives people away. Instead, a few strategically placed ads presented in moderation could have had a better effect.
Marketers Are Turning to Alternative Forms of Advertising
While marketers have options if they want to improve their display advertising, others have decided to evacuate the medium altogether. Brands that want to find a better way to get noticed by customers can turn to strategies such as influencer marketing and native advertising.
Native advertising occurs when publishers form agreements with advertisers to create content around or featuring their products. Influencer marketing occurs when marketers pay highly visual internet users or celebrities such as Kylie Jenner to share information about their products. These approaches are different from banner ads or sponsored posts because the influencers and publishers need content to share, and advertisers can give them something to post.
However, native advertising and display ads aren’t mutually exclusive. You can choose both for your brand’s marketing strategy.
Ad blockers don’t symbolize the death of display advertising, but rather the birth of quality digital marketing. With the right tools, marketers can better connect with customers in ways that are important to them and start a conversation about their brands.
If you’re ready to elevate your marketing strategy in a world of ad blockers, contact the digital strategy team at VivosWeb today and create a plan to better connect your brand with your audience.