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Ad-Blockers and The Impact On Advertisers

Recently there has been an influx of ad-block applications appearing on the App Store. These apps were developed in response to consumer backlash about the amount of advertising people were receiving when browsing on their smart phones, and have thus far been popular. As of last week, the three most downloaded apps on the App Store were ad-blockers. 

As a consumer, I understand some of the frustrations with mobile ads; they are often intrusive into my expected experience, they often act more as pop ups and are not inline with my scroll, and they are sometimes difficult to close with my fat thumbs.  Additionally, I have found some video ads particularly annoying, as they tend to eat up my data more quickly.  With that said, I also realize they may be necessary for me to continue viewing “free” content.

As a marketer, I share some of the frustrations but think most of the instances are a result of other marketers not doing an effective job of picking and choosing the placements that seamlessly integrate into the user experience.  High impact sounds good and all, but if it annoys the consumer then all you are doing is drawing negative connotation to the brand and the ad.

As a marketer and consumer, I know there must be a better way to advertise and incorporate that advertising in my expected user experience.  Companies like Sled Mobile are working to solve the issue by developing and serving high impact ads that are in stream with a user’s scroll, but more can certainly be done and not just from the delivery side but also from the creative and placement side.

Planners need to be working harder to ensure that the ads they are placing are in an environment where the user is getting some good content. The user will then be more closely aware that the ad is the reason why the content is free ex: YouTube, but it needs to be something relevant to them individually.  Broad and untargeted placements do not work on mobile; ads should be helpful and relevant.

From a creative standpoint, there should be more emphasis on unique and dynamic messaging. Messaged should be catered to location or user activity. The adaptation of a standard desktop display ad to mobile is no longer acceptable.

Being a consumer and marketer gives me a unique perspective; however the one perspective I am not afforded is that of the content provider. What will ad-blocking applications mean for them? Unfortunately, it could mean death.  With ads being blocked, we must ask how the content provider is to stay in business. Everyone loves the idea of free content but unfortunately it’s just an idea and not a reality. Everything on the back end; writers, contributors, designers and webmasters must be paid for.

How is the content provider or publisher to stay in business if they cannot monetize on their offering and recoup some of the costs associated with content creation?  Native or custom content is one option, but there certainly isn’t enough demand to fund a full content offering just yet. Would users visit a site if every piece of content on there was co-created by an advertiser? I think not.

Before we all go out and start downloading ad-blockers, we should first think about the possible repercussions on the content providers we know and love.

-Dan Sauvigné, Associate Media Director, Proove Accountable Media