Next On Consumers' To-Block List: Content Marketing!

It was Advertising Week in New York last week, and the discussions about ad blocking, content marketing and media revenue models were manifold.

In one session, Google’s head of advertising, Sridhar Ramaswamy, said that the reason consumers are evading marketing messages is due to "crappy ad experiences,” a technical term in marketing meaning… well, crappy ad experiences. We have all seen and experienced them. For instance, I bought a new laptop last week from a retailer with brick-and-mortar stores as well as an online store. This retailer is now serving me as many crappy laptop ads as possible, even though I just bought one.

Ramaswamy said that the industry needs to come together to define what he calls an acceptable ad. I don’t think that alone will do it. I think defining acceptable intrusion -- or acceptable annoying online marketing behavior -- is going to be far more important than the ad itself.

Meanwhile, online publishers are also worried “about the rise of brands and agencies as content creators,” as discussed at the recent UK Association of Online Publishers conference in London.  I can totally understand their concern, but it would be a good idea if publishers would work to prevent the “crappy ad experience” they are allowing to happen while chasing an ever-smaller share of the advertising budget.



Sean Hargrave opined last week on MediaPost’s RTB Blog that “it wouldn't be a huge step in the dark for automation tools to open up native advertising content slots, would it?”

That’s right, to combat the avoidance by consumers of crappy ad experiences, marketers are considering programmatic as a serious option to deliver native content marketing efforts faster, cheaper, and in an ever more pervasive fashion.

This would be a fast road toward crappy content marketing tactics — and logically, to content marketing avoidance technologies for consumers.

We know that consumers are clearly willing and able to find ways to block unwanted commercial messages via ad blockers and commercial-free platforms (like HULU or Amazon) from their daily media consumption. Many pundits, mostly from advertising platforms and agencies, have stated that the way to address this is for marketers is to go full-on into content marketing.

To date, there are no functioning blockers available to rinse your Facebook or Twitter feed (or Instagram or Snapchat, for that matter) from unwanted commercial intrusions by marketers. I might be wrong, though. if you know of any, please share what you know in the comment section below.

Last week I made the argument that a “gotcha” strategy for marketers and agencies to trick consumers and expose them to advertising/commercial messages is exactly the wrong strategy. So an arms race to get to consumers by deploying ever-evolving technologies to reach them with your content marketing efforts can only lead to more technology for consumers to block these efforts in return.

In the end, however it all comes down to this: According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute of 1,500 B2B marketers, the majority of CMOs (55%) admit they don’t really know how to measure content marketing success in the first place. If we don’t know how to measure it now, then how in the world are we going to effectively manage doing more of it, programmatically?

2 comments about "Next On Consumers' To-Block List: Content Marketing!".
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  1. Randall Tinfow from CLICK-VIDEO LLC, October 5, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.

    You never solve a customer service issue by bashing or tricking the customer.  You only serve to degrade the brand and any accrued loyalty.

    Certainly better creative and more entertaining content helps.  But content pregnant with brand messaging has the potential to turn into derision and resentment.

    The solution seems so simple.  Give customers the ability to peruse ads when they want.  Consumers desire information and buying options.  Provide choices in the appropriate context, at the time of their curiosity or need, and you've got a winning proposition.

    For video content marketing, the limits of browser based video for iPhone is a huge barrier.  Not inline, only fullscreen, top layer, no interactivity.  And iPhone has become the #1 platform for video!  

    This is a pretty good start at flying above the intrusion/blocking issue and overcoming the iOS limitations:

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 20, 2015 at 11:34 p.m.

    I can see it now. People saying that they will give up their jobs, careers, futures because the industry came together to decide that this would be the best way to go to get rid of crappy content so people will stop ad blocking. Right. 98% crap and 2% content and nobody notices. How fast can you say canibalize ?

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