A recent report from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IABUK) showed a worrying increase in the use of ad blockers. Supported by an article in Marketing Week, it revealed the UK is the most pessimistic nation in Europe when it comes to their views on the effectiveness of online marketing – 54% believe it to be ineffective.
It’s no surprise then, that more UK adults are cutting out the noise. There has been a huge rise in the download of ad blocking software and this is starting to pose a challenge for digital professionals. Let’s investigate further.
What the Numbers Say
The IABUK report states:
“15% of the UK adult population uses ad blockers”.
That’s a huge amount and it’s growing. What’s also interesting to note is that:
“More than half of web users in the UK do not understand that being exposed to advertising online allows them to enjoy content and services at little or no cost”.
People aren’t aware that ads allow them free Internet. And it is this lack of understanding coupled with ineffective and inappropriate ads that poses a real challenge for digital professionals.
There could be a number of knock on effects from this alarming increase in ad blockers. Firstly, more ad blockers mean less ads shown and fewer purchases which almost certainly means lower revenues.
And with digital talent being largely accountable for this side of the business, ad blockers pose a real threat. So how can employers and employees tackle this issue?
For digital professionals looking for a new position this challenge presents an opportunity to showcase their digital knowledge in placing ads where and when they will be well received by a target audience, or even moving away from ads altogether. For employers of digital professionals this challenge represents a need to find experienced digital talent that can enhance their brand’s reputation online, not harm it.
How Can Ads Be Better Received?
If we go into slightly more technical detail, the following skills match with what the IABUK report states must be done to maintain trust in digital ads:
• User Experience/Journey Expertise: The report states improved consumer experience should be achieved by better quality, leaner ads that don’t overwhelm the user
• Good Knowledge of Publishers: The report also states that the number of ads per page has an impact on load speed, for this reason digital professionals can look to publishers that have less ads per page to ensure their brand isn’t on websites that consumers find annoying, slow to load or overwhelming
• Knowledge of Ad Platforms Such as Google Adwords: Limiting when and where ads are shown is something else professionals can do better – for example with the practice of remarketing, showing your display ad after someone has only visited your website once may indeed unsettle visitors and deter them from purchasing from you
• Strong Digital Channel Knowledge: By better choosing the channel/s on which to advertise and producing content based around your audience’s problems, it’s possible to create content users choose to “opt in” on, rather than advertising to directly
• Trend and Mobile Knowledge: Respecting the user and employing best practice guidelines today is vital – this now applies to mobile too as Apple has enabled ad blocking in its Safari mobile browser
It’s clear that digital advertising is currently turning users off rather than on, and this can affect bottom line profits. For employers this can lead to a search for digital talent that is expert in user experience, for digital employees it offers a chance to pin point campaigns in precise alignment to the end target user.