In this guest post, Rahul Vasudev (pictured below), MediaMath’s managing director for the Asia-Pacific, outlines his three-step process for marketers to combat the growing threat of ad blocking.
Ad blocking is a major cause of concern amongst agencies and marketers. A recent study found that the use of ad blocking software rose sharply in 2016 – up by 30 per cent compared to the previous year . In fact, there were 615 million devices actively blocking ads by the end of the year, with mobile devices making up a vast majority (62 per cent) of those.
This serves as a very strong message and reminder to marketers that consumers expect relevant content, and will become disengaged with a brand if they do not like what they see on their screens. With marketers pushing out too many similar, if not duplicate ads to their audiences, it is little wonder that consumers are increasingly relying on ad blocking software to improve their online experience. Imagine the frustration of a customer when he or she sees the same, irrelevant ad on his mobile (which also utilises the mobile data that they have to pay for).
The technology exists to enable brands and agencies to develop more targeted campaigns with the consumer at the heart of the design, and communicate the brand message effectively while giving consumers what they want – relevant, and valuable content, individually tailored, and delivered at the right time in an unobtrusive environment.
All it takes is three simple steps:
- Know your customer
Consumers are now comfortable shopping on multiple devices and platforms, especially in the APAC region, where consumers browse on their phones and buy on their PCs at home or even complete the entire transaction while mobile. While this is more convenient for consumers, it can be difficult for marketers to keep up with the ever-increasing proliferation of devices. As a result, they are turning to data in an effort to pin down the identity, and understand genuine sales attribution.
The rise of data analytics introduces an opportunity for marketers to gain a deeper knowledge of their audience and make ads that are more targeted, better timed, and less likely to be blocked. At the same time, this has also enabled marketers to prospect new customers who look and act like their current most valuable customers, modelled on their own data.
- Make it personal
Creating better ads starts with having a deep understanding of changing customer preferences and the ability to use that knowledge effectively. This starts with data – a data management platform that can help create custom segments for flexible messaging is key. From there, marketers can combine their data with automation tools to better understand and engage their target audience on a more personal level.
Technology is available today, which enables marketers to create more granular campaigns, by generating insights into consumer behaviours and tailoring ads that resonate with them. For instance, dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) helps serve personalised ad content based on user-level recommendation logic by measuring the performance of creative elements against campaign goals, and at the same time, swapping out underperforming ones. In fact, DCO’s ability to personalise ads has seen conversation rates rise from 30 per cent to 300 per cent.
- Deliver to audiences, not channels
Seamless engagement across multiple channels will also go a long way towards improving the customer experience. The transition from creative content through to online point-of-sale (POS) must be easy and intuitive. Ads should work equally well on all devices that an audience is likely to engage with, especially since programmatic marketing allows for audience extension across a multitude of apps, websites, channels, and across devices.
Brands often control their advertising at the channel level, separating social media from television, mobile, and others. As a result, customers often see the same, repeated ads across different channels and lends to ineffective advertising. With the increasing convergence of adtech and martech in 2017, marketers can get a single, 360-degree view of customer behaviours across a broader range of marketing touchpoints and in turn, improve the delivery of more relevant messaging, at scale.
Instead, marketers should look to control messaging at a consumer level taking on the customer’s point of view. Breaking down silos and incorporating social media with larger programmatic will help marketers tailor site experiences across all channels, from desktop to tablet and mobile.
While ad blocking is definitely a problem for the industry, the power to counteract it lies with the marketers, who can work in the triumvirate model, with their agencies and technology vendors to improve user experience. The industry needs to prove that well-placed and carefully crafted ads are a practical and useful part of the online browsing experience. Programmatic is here to help.