5 Ways to Improve the User Experience and Overcome Ad Blocking
Patrick BevilacquaApril 27, 2016
The use of ad blocking software has become a financially vexing issue for publishers and advertisers, costing $22 billion in lost advertising revenue last year, according to a report published by Adobe and PageFair.
Based on data gathered from about one million of comScore's U.S. desktop users, nearly 10% used some kind of ad-blocking software. And, among younger consumers, adoption of ad blocking software is "higher than average," according to comScore, which found that 16.5% of adults users aged 24 or younger employ ad-blocking tools on their desktop, compared to 12.5% of users between the ages of 25 and 34 and 8% of users older than 34.
While the numbers may not be as bad as once imagined, there is clearly a desire among some consumers to block ads. However, there are strategies publishers and advertisers can undertake to mitigate this desire and improve the user experience.
How to deliver better and more relevant advertising
1. Choose the Right Ad Unit: According to research from eMarketer and Hubspot, consumers are more likely to engage with rich media ads, video ads, and native ads. These ads provide more content than standard banners and have significantly higher engagement rates - especially native. Native advertising is valuable because the ad experience follows the natural feel and function of the site. The ad is positioned so it looks and feels like natural content, so it can behave consistently with a user's experience online. There are numerous types to choose from: in-feed units, in-ad units, paid search, recommended widgets, promoted listing and customized, and the IAB has guidelines to define each category of Native ad here.
2. Don't Intrude: A common frustration among consumers is that ads can be intrusive, and there are too many ads on a page. A cluttered user experience is a turn off and often slows down computers and mobile devices. Some sites overload the page with pop ups and multiple units that intrude on their ability to consume and enjoy the content. To remedy this situation, publishers must cut back on the sheer number of ads on a page to create a better experience. Only then can native advertising be a step in the right direction.
3. Develop Your Audience Strategy with Data: A better targeting strategy can use verified demographics with buying interest and intent to create better audience segments. For instance, the use of superior data (first and third party) paired with powerful targeting algorithms and real time optimization will create an opportunity to target more relevant ads to a better defined target audience.
4. Create Meaningful Content: Better targeting and optimization is just the first step. Online ads need to also be built on better content that has real meaning to consumers. If ads and native units can be customized and personalized to consumers based on buying intent or step in the buyer's journey, then those consumers can begin to see the ads as beneficial rather than a nuisance to be blocked.
5. Try DCO: Finally, marketers can improve relevance through the use of dynamic creative optimization, or DCO, which uses data and an algorithm to generate personalized ads in real time based on the consumer's profile. The ads can be assembled on a wide variety of variables such as product specs, creative messaging, images, offers and places to purchase.
The Bottom Line - Make Advertising Welcome
While ad blocking has not yet reached crisis level, consumers have begun to push back and are demanding a better user experience. Ad blocking represents an opportunity for the industry to make advertising more welcome by using strategy and technology to select better and tighter audiences and employ more engaging ads units such as native that are not only relevant but also engaging.