By Radomir Basta
It’s hard to admit it as a digital marketer, but people despise advertisements. Recent studies have shown that today, more than 200 million internet users have some type of ad-blocking device installed on their browsers. As the Wall Street Journal reports, these blockers have cost publishers more than $22 billion in 2015 alone. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. At this rate, Ovum predicts that around $35 billion will be lost in total ad revenue by 2020.
People have had enough of pop-ups, display ads and banners.
As HubSpot’s recent survey claims, 64 percent of the interviewed ad blocker users see online advertising as annoying and intrusive. They feel these so-called creatives aren’t really worth their time or attention. Users don’t really engage with them, nor do they see them as relevant sources of information.
Having all that in mind, the question we all should be asking ourselves right now is: How do we continue to promote our brand, business and services in a world that hates advertisements? By investing in strategies that actually work well in this day and age:
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing has proven to be a viable solution for those who struggle to spread the word about their brand and business online in this ad-blocker era.
In a nutshell, content marketing can be described as a strategic marketing approach, focused on creating, distributing and promoting powerful, relevant, compelling and consistent content to attract, retain and inspire a certain group of people. This technique has the capacity to distribute a powerful message in a way which users actually want to see and engage with.
It works because, first and foremost, content marketing is all about providing the targeted audience with something useful. It’s not just something that magically appears out of nowhere in people’s newsfeeds and asks them to “click,” “buy,” or “read more,” just because it's there.
People who have experienced success in this field will tell you that you should build your content marketing strategy on user needs and interests. If you align that with your business objective, you’ll easily survive this ad-blocker nightmare.
Content marketing gives us the opportunity to work on our credibility, by demonstrating how experienced and well-educated we are in our niche or industry.
Optimizing your business for search is still one of the best ways you can achieve success online. As you probably know, Google alone processes around 40,000 searches every second of every day, on average. People from all over the world constantly come to Google in hope of finding answers to their various questions and problems.
Having these numbers in mind, we could confidently claim that SEO is still relevant. If you run a small company, a blog, or any other type of business, you need to do everything in your power to get on Google’s good side.
Investing in SEO could help your brand and business in many different ways. It could help you increase your brand visibility in search and aid you in building your credibility in this digital cyberspace.
Apart from grabbing that intelligent traffic and driving the right kind of people to your site, good SEO has also been known to affect how people feel about your brand. Searchers make mental notes of the terms they usually type into Google’s search bar and the domain names that usually appear in SERP.
No one is confident anymore in doing business with brands that don’t appear on the first pages for their desired keywords. Luckily, SEO is an industry where all sorts of different experts share their expertise with everyone who’s interested in optimizing their brand, business and website for search.
3. Native Advertising and Influencer Outreach
Research has shown that people trust branded content more than a classic advertisement. Internet users don’t want to be sold to — millennials in particular. They basically run away the very second they realize someone is trying to get them to buy something.
But millennials still buy stuff. They just do it a bit differently. They use ad-blockers and only listen to people they think are relevant to them. That’s why if you want to survive in today’s world and keep your brand and business growth, you need to consider investing in native advertising and influencer outreach. If done right, native advertising shouldn’t bother anyone’s sensibilities. It should organically mix with all the other content that’s being promoted on a particular site or channel.
Good native advertising has very little to do with product placement. This way of promoting your business can be educational, emotional or just entertaining. It takes the idea of agile marketing to a whole new level, by providing companies and brands with an opportunity to intelligently and casually appear on popular mediums that are constantly visited by their desired audiences.
The same goes for influencer marketing. Most companies today work with influencers. They employ them as endorsers for their products and services because they have what most other publishers don’t have — the trust of like-minded people.
Influencer marketing gives advertisers the chance to present their products and services in a completely new light because they organically and contextually appear on sites that are visited by actual people who are interested in content that these domains usually publish and promote.
That’s how influencer marketing overcomes the whole ad-blocker barrier.
Marketing is constantly changing. If you want to continue to successfully promote your brand and business online, it’s imperative that you become reactive instead of proactive. You need to keep up with the times and learn how to best approach your clients.
The goal is not to continue to inundate your targeted audiences when you know they’re frustrated with such things as pop-up ads.
Creating engaging, humanized and valuable content and connections is the cornerstone of every successful and modern marketing strategy. You should do everything in your power to adapt to change and not fight it when you know that you’re already on the losing side.
Co-founder and CEO at Four Dots. CEO & product architect at Dibz, Reportz and Base. Lecturer for SEO module at Digital Marketing Institute.