Ad blocking: Key Do’s and Don’ts of the Advertising industry

Within the media industry ad blocking is a polarising topic, with some considering it one of the biggest mass boycotts ever and an existential threat to much online content and publishers, whilst others consider it something blown out of all proportion to reality. Figures from our recent DIMENSION study can quantify the scale of the issue, showing that 36% of UK consumers use ad blockers sometimes, with 26% of 18-34 year olds using them all the time.

However, ad blocking is of course not something confined to just the UK. One-in-five connected adults globally* use ad blocking software all the time, showing that it is a widely practiced habit of online users.

Here we look at how the industry can respond to the threat of ad blocking with some ‘do’s and don’ts’ leveraging findings from our 2018 DIMENSION study.

  1. DO Make the ads clear and relevant: It’s important to make the trade-off clear from the start and make it significant for the consumer. 65% of consumers prefer to see ads relevant to them, but 43% claim that ads they see are not relevant to them, so there is plenty of room for improvement.
  2. DO Be innovative in your messaging: Consumers are overloaded with ads and commercial messaging online, with not many being as attractive or sophisticated as they should be. If you can provide quality content and be relevant to the consumer then your ad will stand out from the rest.
  3. DO Get creative: When it comes to measuring ad effectiveness, looking at audience data isn’t enough. Did the message resonate? Was the ad viewable? Consider where the consumers are responding well to ads, and how (is it audio or a video ad). Give the consumer more of what they want - after all, 63% of consumers agree that they would like more control over the types of ads they see online
  4. DON’T be repetitive: 72% of consumers agree that they see the same ad over and over again, whilst 56% of consumers also say that they see ads for products they have already bought. Mixing up the content on ads will portray the same core messaging but make consumers feel they are being repeatedly bombarded by the same ad.
  5. DON’T Put a “square peg in a round hole”: Too often ads designed for an offline medium appear online. Ads need to reflect the medium within which they appear. Take care over repurposed TV content and ensure sufficient adaptation for the intended media form.
  6. DON’T Be afraid of trying new things: Embrace experimentation with new media forms before they scale – even if robust measurement systems are yet to emerge. 14% of connected consumers use smart speakers and voice activated systems, along with virtual reality and augmented reality, will quickly become mainstream.

Clearly, there is plenty of room for improvement from within the media industry for getting consumers to engage better with ads. It won’t be achieved overnight, but with a few simple considerations and by listening to what consumers want, there is no reason why advertising cannot be enjoyed instead of simply avoided.

*The DIMENSION study was undertaken across five markets in total: UK, USA, China, Brazil and France. Connected consumers are defined as those who use two of the following three devices to go online: desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone.

Find out more about dimension here.

This piece originally appeared in Exchange Wire. Read here.

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Kantar Media Advertising Intelligence
Advertising and Search, Monitoring & Evaluation
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