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Marketing Minute: Are AD Blockers Blocking Your Business?

18 November 2015  

Can you still get your message out despite ad blockers?

How The Proliferation of AD Blocking Software is changing the industry.

We continue to slowly watch print publications wither, becoming thinner and lighter as their on-page words are sucked into the internet of things. Once powerful paper moguls are morphing into sundried raisins, victims of a bright and shiny online universe as voracious content consumers rush to their mobile world like army ants attracted to carcasses on the jungle floor. Infinite, on-demand supply for an endless appetite. "Pass the Grey Poupon."

The Passing of Pop-Ups

The smart ones rushed into the light to become online moguls and shiny stars themselves, but their coded worlds are suddenly becoming chilly as their sunlight is eclipsed by the same endless appetite that created their online haven. It appears these voracious consumers don't want side dishes served up in the form of banner ads and pop-ups. Those annoying things get in the way and slow down their dining experience. "Steak please, no salad."

More and more internet users are uploading AD blocking software. Apple recently has enabled architecture allowing for AD blocking in it’s mobile platform, iOS. If employed, those using Apple devices may not see that pop-up or banner the advertisers are counting on.

"...since 2013 that growth rate (of AD blocking software use) has skyrocketed. In the last three years, internet users who adblock have increased from 40 million users to more than 200 million users today." - Tech Crunch, June 07, 2015.

Blockers Backed By The Courts

The eclipse is growing and continues to linger. AD blockers have already been backed by the courts in what is most likely a precedent case as the popular plug-in ADBlock Plus won its case against broadcasters in Germany, securing ADBlock Plus' future operation. - Venture Beat, September 29, 2015.

30 Billion Lost in 8 Years

So, if publishers rely on advertising, which they obviously do, what will they do? No doubt, many online publishers are struggling. "...between 2006 and 2014, the industry lost approximately 30 billion dollars in advertising." - The Conversation, May 21, 2015. / Pew Research Center.  That shiny online universe can burn. "Break out the SPF 50".

Metered Pay Walls

One of the first sun blocks the publishing industry experimented with was "pay walls". And, they are still rubbing in the lotion hoping for relief.  If you do a lot of your reading online, especially news, you've probably slammed into one or two of these walls. Essentially, it is a subscription service. A form of these paywalls that seems to be taking hold is Metered pay walls. These allow readers to consume up to a certain number of articles per month. The theory being that those who continually reach the cut-off threshold will eventually subscribe as they are loyal readers.  For some publications like the New Yorker, it is reported that it seems to be working. Meanwhile, publications like the Toronto Star are getting rid of their pay walls. In a nutshell, the jury is still out on these experimental revenue sources and many online publishers continue to struggle. - The Conversation, May 21, 2015.

Advertisers Are Becoming Publishers

To make matters even tougher for publishers, businesses (potential advertisers) are becoming their own media moguls, leveraging the power of the shiny online universe to share their own stories through blogs, social media, websites, and video. Perfect examples are GoPro and Red Bull, true media moguls who have far less need for outbound advertising (online or print) as they build their brands through the sharing of users' experiences in viral videos and epic events. In essence, publishers are competing with their own potential customers who are also becoming publishers themselves. Confused? Sounds like Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First?"!

Sponsored Content and Rainbows

Despite the burn of this shiny, online universe, there are cool rainbows for online publishers and advertisers alike. If you haven't noticed, online publishers are utilizing sponsored content more and more. These are engaging stories that subtly promote a particular brand. They also make a lot of sense for small businesses in tight-knit communities who are able to produce problem-solution type content. If it is informative, relevant, and sometimes fun, it fits well within the news columns and has a place in the sunlight.

Small businesses will succeed if they know how to tell their story. The smart ones leverage both their own channels as well as online publications via sponsored content. Maybe your business can develop a relationship with your local online news site, begin writing a column and become the industry expert in your business sector.
The Conversation
Venture Beat
Who's On First - (This is fun) Research

Guy Roginson

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