Over the last month or so I’ve noticed the recurring topic of ad blocking coming across my usual stream of marketing articles. The subject is usually approached from a panic-mode point of view that sees ad blocking as the latest Y2K style bane of digital marketing, and I’ve got to state right off the bat that I think that is just hilariously silly. Look, I get it. Ad blocking is bad for business, but the rush to condemn it is evidence of the advertising industry’s repetitive self-loathing that occurs whenever something trivial upsets the status quo such as when Facebook cut down on the reach of brand posts last year. It is also evidence that ad blocking is simply a symptom of a much larger problem, bad marketing.
I’ll be forthright and let you know that I use ad blocker pro on my personal computer. And it’s not because I don’t like advertising and marketing. Hell, I do it for a living. It’s because digital advertising over the last few years has become so outrageously sloppy, lazy and egregiously in your face and annoying. Why would I or anyone want to buy product that interrupts something I’m trying to do? Scroll/pop over adds are the last thing anyone wants to see when they’re on a site trying to do something, and it’s become so prevalent that I have to wonder, “who doesn’t use ad blocking?” Adding onto that, despite what the numbers might show, your targeted ads are creeping out potential customers. There is nothing that bothers me more than being on a website and seeing an add for something I looked up one time and have no interest in whatsoever. So, what is the solution and where does ad blocking fit into the mix?
It starts with the realization that ad blocking was brought about to improve user experience. Once that realization has been made the question becomes, “How can we improve user experience?” As we head into 2016 look for ad blocking to be the catalyst that inspires new creative marketing and ultimately brings about a new chapter in digital advertising. Rather than being complacent and self-loathing I think we as marketers should be thankful that the advent of ad blocking came around because it will push us to develop more quality creative content. Look for advertisements to be more elegantly integrated into the fabric of a site and less of an interruptive nuisance on the face of a site. Look for publishers and social media managers to be more relevant and engaging with their customers. Look for companies to become more humanized and less commercial by realizing social media is a channel and not a strategy. And lastly look for advertisers to really hone in on people who actually want to see their products and services by utilizing ad blocking as the latest tool for trimming the fat from their advertising approach.