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How advertisers can deal with online ad blocking

Advertisers need to rethink the way their content is being consumed or engaged with by customers if they want to deal with ad blocking

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | September 20, 2016


Ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar believes that if something irritates him, he will block it. Quoting an example, he said, “You go to a pub and decide to ask out five pretty looking women. You ask them out and all of them reject you. You sit rejected at the bar next to a rejected girl and strike a conversation with her. And there, you’ve asked her out for the evening and get along well. Bang on! The point here is real lives and social lives are interconnected. If you can’t handle rejection, you won’t be able to conquer the world. Similar is the case with advertisers. Your ad is rejected because it couldn’t strike a conversation. The moment it is able to make a conversation, that’s when you know you have got things right.”

Coming back to ad blocking, it is something that has been of concern to the advertiser on the digital platform. But has one thought why it has been of concern? The reason is that the ad is not engaging enough. It has failed to attract the user because of which he has the choice to block it.

A recent report said Google too refused to work with AdBlock Plus to sell ads. As a platform that encourages advertising, it will continue to focus on working on this disconnect between consumers and advertisers that has led to ad blocking -- a step towards making advertising more interesting.

But at the same time, it must be noted some ads make the consumer feel irritated on the internet because of constant pop-ups. This is when the tool comes handy. No doubt ‘AdBlock’ as a tool is great for some but it is definitely not a good sign for the advertiser. BestMediaInfo.com tries to figure the pros and cons of ad blocking.

Rajiv Dingra, CEO and Founder, WATConsult, feels ad blocking is not as prevalent as one thinks it to be. Brands still have many avenues for banner ads. He thinks what has really been blocked is a pop up, which as an inventory is dead.

Most users are unaware about ad blocking while many are not upset by ads. This marks the difference between users using an ad block and those not using it at all. Native ads are becoming very popular and this is a proof that the advertiser has come up with a solution to penetrate the consumer the content it wants to.

Heidi Myers, Marketing Director, EMEA, Meltwater, on the other hand said, “We are now referring to this current era as ‘post-digital’ and as marketers have witnessed a host of different platforms -- stepping away from historical ‘monologue marketing’ (advertising) into a world of dialogue marketing (with social media and online). To survive, marketers must navigate around the noise and create alternative ways to engage an audience. Research has shown that consumers are experiencing ‘banner blindness’ where users consciously or subconsciously ignore advertising. So, in a world where we are bombarded with messages, instructions, flashing lights telling us what to do, ad blocking technology was just a matter of time.”

 Karan Gupta Karan Gupta

Meanwhile, Karan Gupta, CEO, Andbeyond.media classifies the two sides of ad blocking. For him, the first part is the audience which perceives most online ads to be either disruptive or intrusive and the publisher-advertiser component that has been at the receiving end of ad blocking. Secondly, for Gupta, the increasing use of ad blockers means massive revenue losses for brands and publishers alike.

“A recent study shed light on the fact that if ad blocking rates maintain their current levels and publishers do little to combat the effects of ad blocking, by 2020 we will be looking at $35 billion worth of losses in the online advertising space,” he added.

To tackle this problem, publishers and brands need to reflect on the reasons they are or will be subjected to ad blocking. Advertisers and large-scale media players are trying to alleviate the impact of ad blocking by increasingly adhering to acceptable ads by saying no to auto play videos, pop-ups, and so on; thereby abandoning disruptive ad formats that can come across as pesky.

Martin Nygate Martin Nygate

Sharing some statistics on ad blocking in India and globally, Martin Nygate, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, nanu, said, “The growing ad blocking industry is having a detrimental impact on revenues of digital advertisers, thus forcing them to revisit their media strategy. As per analysts, India has the second-highest number of people who actively use ad-blockers on the mobile web (122 million). And around the world, 22 per cent (419 million of 1.9 billion smart phone users) block ads while browsing the web.”

It is crucial that marketers are quick to assess the changes impacting markets and are open to exploring alternative forms of advertising that deliver their messaging non-intrusively and relevantly to the consumer.

Nygate added, “Advertisers are encouraged by misleading campaign click-through rate benchmarks that create the illusion of success. This industry practice has spurred the bombardment of irrelevant messaging to consumers and as a by-product, the mass adoption of ad-blocking software. A lose-lose situation is created for the user and brand, as the user could potentially miss out on deals, products or services useful to them by blocking all advertisements and the brands unknowingly create a negative brand-consumer relationship.”

It seems that nanu foresaw the situation that would eventually impact the industry and developed a unique ad framework based on voice-over ads, with an objective to effectively transmit the right message to the right user.

It is paramount that marketers remain agile in this ever-changing industry and leverage the right technical tools to increase their brand equity and reach their users without frustrating them. Targeted and non-intrusive advertising are some of the ways that marketers will be able to reduce ad-blocking and encourage user engagement and lead conversions.

Venugopal Ganganna Venugopal Ganganna

Like others, Venugopal Ganganna, CEO and Partner, Langoor too thinks that ad blocking is an issue, but it hasn’t reached an extent that it is blocking advertisers from going digital. “In fact, quite the opposite is happening -- advertisers are finding creative ways to go online and issues such as ad-blocking are encouraging a healthy spread of media spend. This includes a balance across owned, paid and earned media,” he added.

As a platform for advertisers, YouTube’s Head of Entertainment, Satya Raghavan is positive on creating more engaging platforms for the advertiser. “Fundamentally we work to provide the advertiser with great set of products so that they can reach the consumer, whether it is innovation like a bumper ad or anything else. On YouTube, they can reach the consumer with the kind of content they are watching,” added Raghavan.

He further believes in spending time with advertisers to tell them to create engaging advertisements. People come to YouTube to watch great content and they see advertisers creating unique advertisements for it. While television has a lot of constraints, on YouTube advertisers are telling stories.

The bottom line is that brands and publishers need to rethink the way their content is being consumed, or engaged with by consumers. The poorer the ad experience, the higher the chances one will see ad blocking being adopted on a much wider scale, in India and globally.


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