Imagine walking through Time Square in NYC, and there’s not a single flashy bright billboard, flipping through the September edition of Vogue, and there’s no high fashion glossy ads or watching the Super Bowl without any commercials. In our overly saturated and consumer driven world, these scenarios sound unfamiliar and against the norm. However, for the 198 million internet users worldwide who have downloaded an ad blocker software to their laptops or mobile device, this is their digital landscape, ad-free.
Apple, Google and consumers all seem to understand that ads can ruin a website experience. However, when ads are blocked, the publishers are the ones who lose revenue, so much so that in 2016, it’s estimated that $41.4 million was lost in revenue due to ad blockers. So, Google and Apple decided to do something about these blocking programs, but it doesn’t look like they’re all on the same page with their changes.
Ad Blockers in the Chrome and Safari Update
Both Apple and Google have recently announced their plans to crack down on obnoxious online ads. In doing so this doesn’t just mean a better web experience, I believe this is the beginning of a shift coming in the function and role of browsers for publishers and ISPs. Moving forward, publishers will have to shape not just their ads but also their content and page structure in accordance with what readers deem as necessary and what they want to see when they visit your site.
Ad Blockers Changes Coming to Chrome
An ad blocker built in Chrome may seem a little counterintuitive for Google, as ad revenue is a vast majority of how they make their earnings, therefore blocking ads would be bad for their business. Instead, Google refers to it as an ad “filter”, that aims not to remove all ads from websites but rather remove intrusive, spammy ads. The goal of Google’s ad filter is to have more control over what types of ads appear online in order to make the internet a friendly and informative place for users, much like the purpose of their SEO updates. By implementing this ad filter to Chrome in 2018, Google hopes this will be a replacement for user’s who currently use ad blocker programs, ultimately hoping users will remove their separate ad blocker which will help keep Google advertising alive.
While the update for Chrome doesn’t block all ads, it’s projected right now that it will only block ads that are deemed invasive and annoying according to the Coalition for Better Ads standard, an organization whose members include Google, Facebook, The Washington Post, and many more industry leaders. These standards include:
- Pop Up Ad
- Autoplay Video Ads with Sound
- Large Sticky Ads
- Prestitial Ads with a Countdown
- Full-Screen Scroll Over Ads
- Flashing Animated Ads
Ad Blocker Changes Coming to Safari
Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t rely on advertising revenue. Therefore they are taking a much more radical approach to blocking ads within Safari. Since 2010, Safari has offered the option for “reader view” when browsing a website, which doesn’t just remove all ads, it also eliminates extras like lists of “related stories” or any other enticing content that would keep a user on a site. Essentially the reader view strips a site down to nothing more than its content, going as far as to remove color schemes and fonts. Within their latest version of Safari, set to come out in 2018, Apple plans to allow users to turn on “reader view” by default, this mean users could never see the original version of your website. Previously, users would have to load a page before they were given the option to turn the reader view on. Also, this Safari update would block cookies used to track users’ online activities.
This is a significant change, well beyond just a counter attack to ad blockers that would affect any business with a digital presence.
What Do Ad Blockers Updates Mean for Digital Marketing?
With ad blocker programs on the rise and the proposed browser changes from Google and Apple, the digital advertising market will challenge digital marketers to reevaluate their approach. Not only will this change the way marketers and brands think about ads and ad space, but also it changes the relationship between the publishers and the browsers and between the reader and the publisher.
Digital Marketing Tactics to Get Past Ad Blockers
- Native Advertising
Subtle and taking on the look and tone of their environment, native advertising can establish brand awareness, positive impression and add value to the user’s experience without being overly obtrusive. Native advertising’s success is dependent on two aspects: that there is an alignment between the advertiser and the publisher and that the content is unique, relevant and provides value to the reader. Brands that take the time to understand the user and their pain points, in order to create content that addresses those needs will reap the rewards of native advertising. Learn more about native advertising.
- Partnering with Publishers
The rise of ad-blockers has forced publishers to get creative and resourceful in developing a new way to counterattack the blocking systems. Publishers like Slate, Huffington Post, Forbes and Bloomberg to name a few, have established campaigns ranging from polite requests to disable ad blockers before entering their sites to making content unavailable for users who have ad blockers enabled. Publishers with these aggressive tactics to beat ad blockers are a great option for partnering and placing ads on their site to make sure your ads are visible to users.
- Video Marketing
Users tend to accept, remember and attach on a deeper level to videos due to their visual and interactive elements. Videos are an effective way to boost your conversion rates and keep people on your website longer. Also, YouTube has quickly become the second most popular search engine online, and studies show that embedding videos on your website that are hosted on YouTube can help boost your search engine ranking for text searches. In addition, video advertising are a part of the loop hole to getting around ad blockers and getting your ad seen by users.
- SEO, Local SEO and Voice Search
While SEO has transformed immensely over the last decade, it is still one of the best ways to achieve success online. While Google processes around on average 40,000 searches every second of the day, the way these searches are performed, how they are displayed and what is being searched has changed. With that being said, SEO is still relevant because search engines are not going anywhere. Investing in good SEO will help you in establishing your brand online and getting in front of potential customers.
Digital marketing is constantly changing, and if you want your brand and business to be successful online, it’s imperative that you are proactive by keeping up with the best practices and advancements. The goal of a successful and modern marketing strategy should be to create engaging, valuable and humanized content and affiliates. While ad blockers are on the rise, Google’s ad filtering update aims to provide users with a better, less disruptive experience built around content rather than ads. With the rise of ad blockers, it’s time to start rethinking your digital strategy, contact us today!