in Digital Marketing

How To Be Heard In An Ad-Blocking World

by Karim Hachani

I’ve learned I don’t know anything.
Have also learned that people will pay for what I know.

How To Be Heard In An Ad-Blocking World

Radio ads, billboards, TV…

Marketing used to be simpler. And it worked like a charm.

In 2018, it’s safe to say that we live in the age where distractions are everywhere. That doesn’t mean that noise wasn't all over the place in the past. But there’s one fundamental difference.

Things have actually changed to the benefit of consumers. You can fast-forward through commercials in live television. You can skip podcast and YouTube ads in basically the same way. You can also skip an ad on a website. You also have the ability to block ads entirely or partially tune them out with a service similar to AdBlock.

AdBlock is a browser extension whose mission is to provide a better user experience. The purpose of the extension is to filter out any sort of advertising from content mills, websites and applications. It is predicted that by the end of 2018, 35% of all internet users will be using a similar software.

There are several reasons which justify the use of this technology. Interruptions, speed issues, exposure to malware and privacy are just the tip of the iceberg.

We’ve officially entered the Ad Blocking Age. So what are you going to do about it?

Does the golden age of traditionals ads online belong to the past? As much as people may hate annoying ads, the answer is a resounding no. But how exactly are marketers supposed to reach their audience in an ad-blocking world?

The name of the game is adaptation. In short, intrusive ads that mess up with user experience are out and relevant ads are still in the game. Embrace the new ways of doing things and you’re in it to win it.

So how exactly can you put out an honest message that improves user experience and makes room for trust?

Native Marketing

The specific definition varies from person to person, but possibly the most concise description would be “a form of media that’s built into the actual visual design and where the ads are part of the content.”

In a nutshell, native marketing is:

1) An ad that is intrinsic within the design of the content (whatever that content may be)

2) The design of the advert augments the user experience rather than detracts from it

3) Optionally, the advert can be the content itself

This may sound complex in theory and filled with a lot of marketing buzz words, but in practice, it’s fairly straight forward. Think of promoted tweets on Twitter or ‘suggested posts’ on Facebook – they work within the confines of the platform, don’t interrupt the flow of content, and can actually be classed as content themselves.

Join the native ads club.

This type of ad, adapts to the environment. They don’t try to stand out but instead blend in seamlessly on a given platform. Consider Netflix’s Cloverfield Paradox advert on Facebook, it looked just like someone posted the trailer of a fresh million-dollar hollywood movie. The general rule of thumb here is to produce a harmonious end result. The less it feels like an ad the more likely it is to sell.

Native ads are everywhere. From Google and Facebook all the way to Amazon. And they still carry a meaningful, conversion-focused message. They also have normal CTAs and lead to sales pages. Just like the good old days.

They work like a charm because there’s nothing to block. Users willingly click on them and they’re happy to oblige.

Influencer Marketing

Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Marketing: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.

Influencer marketing is simply the action of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand.

Influencer marketing may be trendy right now, but it isn’t new at all. It has been happening for a long time, we have just been thinking about it and defining it differently.

Celebrities, athletes, and leaders were the main influencers in their respective fields and brand would partner with these individuals to promote their service offering.

What has made influencer marketing unique in the present is how social media communication has leveled the playing field and given anyone and everyone the opportunity to share their voice. Anyone with internet access can share their opinion and content, and if they do it well enough- become an influencer. Anyone with a smartphone can produce high-quality photography that ten years ago could have only come out of a $5,000 camera. The most intriguing people will rise above the rest. These individuals that rise way above the rest in following, engagement and/or content creation are a new breed of social media influencer which has rapidly changed the marketing landscape. These are the individuals that brands are scrambling to work with. And you should be too.

Social Ads

There are 2 billion monthly Facebook users , 800 million on Instagram, 500 million on LinkedIn, 330 million on Twitter, and 178 million on Snapchat. Worldwide, there are 3.03 billion active social media users (compared to 3.82 billion internet users). That’s a massive potential reach and audience.

So it makes sense that social ads are taking over.

Everyone spends time there. And it’s relatively easy to blend in and make your ads appear less like ads and more like shares, posts, and tweets.

Every social media platform now offers the ability to advertise and market in some way. Facebook makes the majority of its revenue – the vast majority – via selling ads space to businesses. In 2017, it earned $39.94 billion in ad revenue, up 49% from the $26.85 billion it made in 2016.

The story is the same for Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. Ad revenue is big, big bucks.

On Facebook, you can work with sponsored posts, in-feed video or image ads, or more traditional banner ads. Instagram ? Sponsored posts, Stories, or video ads. Twtter? Promoted tweets and hashtags. YouTube? Video and banner ads. Linkedin ? The #1 rated platform by marketers for B2B leads.

You’re spoiled for choice. Where does your market hang out online?

And let’s not forget Snapchat. Its growth may have slowed recently, but it’s still a tremendously popular platform for tweens, teens, and millennials. It provides traditional ads, Stories, geofilters, and lenses to spread awareness, increase engagement, and have fun.

Social ads don’t strike social users as ads at all. They’re part of the experience. It’s marketing in a more organic, natural, and unobtrusive way. The hardest part is choosing the right platform and the right ad type to reach and resonate with your customers, not deciding whether you should try it in the first place.

Final Words

This is what winning the ad game looks like in 2018. We hope that by now you understood what makes people take action, whether they have ad blockers or not. We might say that the chance to be heard is greater than ever before.

Give them valuable and non-intrusive content and you will win. You will get to spread awareness of your brand in a non-aggressive way and they will love you for it. Content marketing is alive and well, you just have to find the right platforms for you. Speak their language and reap the rewards.