As consumers are increasingly blocking ads and software companies enabling it, marketers need to open their minds to encompass more channels, argues Kellie Northwood, CEO of the Australasian Catalogue Association.
Unsurprisingly, publishers aren’t keen on ad-blockers, and some such as Wired have attempted to demonstrate the hardships when a reader has ad-blocker turned on. It has sparked debate on whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing for the creative industry, but for publishers it means consumers, as some put it “stealing” content as they’re not paying in the form of being served ads.
According to software company PageFair, ad-blocking grew globally by 41 per cent year-on-year with 198 million monthly active users for the major browser extensions as of June 2015.
With an estimated loss of global revenue due to surpass $21.8 billion in 2015, according to PageFair, the economic impact of ad blocking is creating major disruption. Not to mention the negative brand association caused by digital ads repeatedly creating a poor user experience. As more and more users gain control of what they choose to see online, ad blocking technology will become an even greater challenge for marketers.
And why would companies continue to create these ads when they know customers don’t like them? ACA’s Northwood said ad-blocking is like the equivalent of the ‘no advertising material’ on letterboxes, “and as an industry we support the consumer’s right to choose”.
“Ad-blocker software outlines a maturity of digital media channels, in that established mediums have long managed consumer choice restrictions,” she continued.
“Our view within letterbox marketing is that if consumers do not wish to receive messages from retailers via a catalogue or unaddressed mail, then letting the industry know is a good thing for everyone. This allows marketers to choose another channel to reach their consumers in a way that is more meaningful.”
A recent article from the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted how many consumers now feel they have to the right to get content free. The article dubs them the “entitlement generation”.
And yet this constant struggle between consumer and publisher exemplifies the need for brands to look at other ways of advertising, suggested Sarah Pike, CMO of direct marketing company, Salmat.
“While ad-blocker software technology poses a new challenge for marketers, impacting their ability to reach their target customers, it highlights the need for marketers to ensure they have a broad channel mix in their marketing plan combining digital with more traditional platforms like radio, TV and letterbox media.”
Of a similar opinion is Mark Hollands, CEO of industry body The Newspaper Works. Hollands, though believes Aussie newspaper readers are open to ad messages, despite many of the mastheads and their digital counterparts involved in the ad-blocking conundrum.
“The key to any channel allocation is to ensure you are reaching your consumers in a format that meets their needs and preferences best,” he said.