Ad blocking. You’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it, you’ve probably brainstormed ways to combat it. It’s a growing concern for marketers across the globe. It isn’t new, and it isn’t going away. In fact, it’s becoming a behemoth.

“Ad Blocking” in todays world tends to be thought of in the digital space exclusively but blocking out ads has been happening for years; from swapping radio stations to skipping commercials on TV. So it’s always something we as marketers have been up against. But as technology has advanced and with digital advertising as an increasingly important element to almost every media plan, it is now being discussed more than ever before.

According to AdWeek, an Adobe report conducted by Page Fair explains that one in seven in the United States are obstructing ads. Overall ad blocker usage is up 48 percent in the U.S. over the past 12 months. Outside of a traditional ad blocker app or software (read more about that here), the non-traditional ad avoidance options remain as well: skipping ads on YouTube, fast forwarding a pre-recorded show with DVR and changing the channel on the radio when an ad comes on.

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As ad blocking continues to grow, it is time for businesses and marketers alike to start thinking about how they are going to tackle blocking head on. The obvious answer is to start finding new and creative ways to reach consumers. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s talk about three ways to combat the giant that is ad blocking.

Be Relevant. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to hone your message, crafting something highly relevant to the audience you hope to reach. I’ve heard it said that as display ads have become more commonplace, users have learned to tune them out, making it harder to garner clicks and interest. You must create something that will stand out, catch their eye, and be incredibly relevant to draw them in.

Be Unavoidable. You know as well as I do that there are some things you just do not record and watch later. When your favorite sports team is playing, you’re watching live. When Scandal is on, your roommate knows to steer clear of the remote. A new episode of Walking Dead? You’d give up your left leg before you’d risk a spoiler alert by recording to watch later. In terms of TV, strategic placement can work in your favor to avoid the ad skippers of the world. In the digital space, there are similar strategies using high impact ad units like homepage takeovers, interstitials & even video ads that you only pay for once a user engages or watches a certain amount. These types of opportunities are often higher priced and less targeted than other programmatic solutions, but can have a big impact when you are trying to engage an audience.

Think Outside of the Box. When it comes to tackling ad blocking, likely the most obvious (and most daunting) solution is coming up with new and creative ways to reach your audience. One of the most popular focuses in recent months has been native advertising. While we could easily write books (and some people have) about this practice, let’s just discuss the basics.

Content is king and the end of his reign isn’t in sight. Good native advertising takes content one step further, showcasing unique, relevant posts that don’t read like an ad. They are often highly targeted through site direct placement, or on social media and other digital avenues. Native ads are intended to look and act like content, fitting into their surrounding environment. Matching the landscape is paramount to a successful native advertisement. Users have visited a site for a reason; help them feel at home with your content, rather than drawing them away.

For a few examples of excellent native advertisements, take a peek at Mashable’s list of highly talked about native ads as well as Hubspot’s list of enjoyable native ads.

While ad blocking can seem to some a huge marketing roadblock, it allows for companies with creative and unique ideas to stand out and make a splash. Tackle the giant by relevant, unavoidable, creative ideas. Sounds easy, right? Let’s do it.

 

Written by: Jennifer Burke, Media Buyer