5 Gal­vanised by fear, the on­line ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try will more ag­gres­sively re­spond to ad block­ers

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Dig­i­tal Ad­ver­tis­ing Fights Back

Dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing has had its wake up call and can no longer hit the snooze but­ton. The in­dus­try has been jolted into ac­tion by the con­tin­ued rise of ad block­ing soft­ware across desk­top and mo­bile de­vices, and fore­casts of bil­lions in lost ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue. We pre­dict mar­keters will fight back with gen­uine im­prove­ments for con­sumers.

In 2015, IAB Tech Lab launched a pro­gramme of “lean” ad prin­ci­ples, ad­vo­cat­ing that dig­i­tal ads should be light, en­crypted, non-in­va­sive, and sup­port a user’s de­ci­sion to choose what ads they see. Septem­ber 2016 saw the launch of the im­pres­sively broad Coali­tion for Bet­ter Ads, and the in­dus­try will soon launch a new ad port­fo­lio which should kill off pop-ups, forced count­downs and auto ex­pands – the most an­noy­ing and dis­rup­tive of ad for­mats.

More con­fi­dent that UX basics will be ad­dressed, pub­lish­ers will be proac­tive in try­ing to win the hearts, minds and screen space of con­sumers. Mar­ket­ing cam­paigns will fo­cus both on de­ter­ring new ad block­ing users and dis­cour­ag­ing ex­ist­ing users. The ethics of ad block­ing will also be ques­tioned as soft­ware providers in­creas­ingly at­tempt to profit from ad au­tho­ri­sa­tion.

Mean­while, the tech­ni­cal ping­pong against ad block­ers will con­tinue. This will re­turn short-term dol­lars to pub­lish­ers but will over­ride con­sumer wishes, so the safer long-term strat­egy will be to ad­dress the core con­cerns which have drawn peo­ple to ad block­ing.

In 2017, the on­line ad in­dus­try will turn a corner by adopt­ing bet­ter ad for­mats and proac­tively per­suad­ing au­di­ences not to block ads.

In 2017, the on­line ad in­dus­try will turn a corner by adopt­ing bet­ter ad for­mats and proac­tively per­suad­ing au­di­ences not to block ads.

Kan­tar Mill­ward Brown’s an­nual Adreac­tion study, to be re­leased in Jan­uary, iden­ti­fies the top three rea­sons peo­ple in­stall ad block­ers: ads in­ter­rupt and an­noy them; they are con­cerned that ads slow down their de­vices, and they don’t find ads rel­e­vant. Ex­pect to see the dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try ur­gently re­spond­ing to these spe­cific chal­lenges through­out the com­ing year.

Dun­can South­gate is Global Brand Di­rec­tor for Me­dia & Dig­i­tal at Kan­tar Mill­ward Brown. He has over twenty years of brand, com­mu­ni­ca­tions & me­dia re­search ex­pe­ri­ence.

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