As the prime source of media consumption shifts to digital devices so has to advertise along with it. In the past ten years alone, we’ve been converting long-form television advertisements to 10 and 30-second spots, sold between YouTube videos and breaks as you stream your favorite TV shows.
While the industry jumps aboard this fast-moving train, not all audiences are pleased with the pauses in their content viewing, arguing that placed advertisement takes away not only their time but free will. Some consumers who feel this way, are making strident ($) attempts to reduce their ad consumption.
Viewers don’t look forward to breaks between streamed content, period. It is not complicit with their goals to visit the site. In 2016, networks such as CBS used it as an opportunity and began to announce a rollout for paid commercial-free subscriptions following similar actions from streaming giants such as Hulu and Spotify and YouTube. But the situation has not been as simple for regular websites vs. streaming engines.
Moderators have attempted to ask readers to allow the ads on their sites to load, or by offering ad-free versions of their web and mobile sites, which are slightly more expensive than regular subscriptions.
Despite these options, to regain control, viewers have turned to ad-blockers. Since 2014, the use of platforms such as Adguard and Ghostery have been on the rise to 10% of internet users, while eMarketer forecasts predict this usage to reach 27% this year.
In 2016, Hub-Spoke conducted a research survey on Ad Block Plus, to understand why people used ad-blockers. Per the study, the 51% of viewers did not want to wait for their content, but ultimately it came down to convenience and control over their viewing choices.
Why is this important to know?
Adblocking reduce the revenue potential supporting the websites. This loss puts the content they were ultimately attempting to view at risk in the long term, and the train does not seem to have any plans of stopping.
Although this seems bleak, it was also very clear that people are not necessarily asking for life without adverts, just different one. With 68% of participants stating that they are “fine with seeing ads if they are not “annoying,” and 31% willing to look at advertisements, it gives advertisers and marketers sometimes to re-evaluate the formula. It is unclear how ‘annoying’ ads are defined, but the impetus is for us to figure that out.
So how can we prevent viewers from blocking our ads?
Regain Their Trust
Responsible advertisers choose not to coerce, but rather to connect with their audience. Advertisements have the capability to reveal options that were not previously available, opportunities to align with impactful, but they also remember falling for that click bait the last time that led to a virus. Remind them that you are here for their needs in an honest way. Tapping into the intrinsic values of a viewer grabs their attention and will be seen as less of an interruption.
Invite the Customer Into Our World
In the age of mobile, interactive is the way to go. We need to capture attention quickly, and the best way to hold attention is if the viewer is willingly engaged. People enjoyed shared-experiences much more than being “talked-at.” It is great to remind people that like can be fun and exciting, even for a minute. These methods are full of creative possibilities, which can be high risk, with high reward.
Create the Future
As a strategist, it is important to know that selling an idea or a message is to incline the audience to realize their actual needs or desires. It is our job as advertisers and communicators not to read minds, but to anticipate the steps that individuals may take that could lead them to self-determined action.
Understanding the audience requires diligent research, big ears, and an open mind. We must assume that while some customers are very proactive others are consumers are in a passive state unaware of their peripheral desires. Through insights, research, and emotional connection, we act as those agents to connect them. Creating the future means keeping them on their toes, giving them choices and incentives for rewarding the time they shared with you.
The late educator Peter Drucker once said,
“the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
The onus remains with us driving the industry, to create the work that will remind our audience that the next 20 seconds they are willing to spend viewing our ads will be time well spent.
Moral of the story: Always make content worth viewing.