Data released by the trade association Digital Content Next (DCN) suggesting that 33% of U.S. consumers are very or somewhat likely to try ad-blocking browser-based software in the next three months shouldn't come as a surprise to advertisers, but it could have brands like Dish Networks revisiting their advertising strategies.
"As marketers, we need to accept some of the blame," says Marjorie Gray, digital brand manager at Dish Networks, during a question-and-answer discussion with Gerry Bavaro, SVP Enterprise Solutions, at Merkle, during the MediaPost Search Insider Summit Thursday. "It's partially our fault. For years [the industry has] been cramming ads down people's throats -- buy my products, buy my products."
The onslaught of "non-relevant" ads prompted Jamaica-based telecom provider Digicel to block millions of customers from seeing advertisements. The product will initially launch in Jamaica before rolling out to its other operations in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The move signals for the first time that a mobile phone carrier has taken the initiative for an ad-blocking opt-out.
The growing trend of ad blocking is focusing search marketers and other marketers to rethink their strategies. Some are looking at other avenues such as in-app ads and native advertising.
In line with this trend, Dish Networks has review its advertising and media strategies and during Q3 2015, the company revised its messaging to consumers. Looking at Dish advertisements last year, consumers would likely see about 11 calls to action, Gray estimates, so the company decided to break down the campaigns and ensure that all messages and available pricing options matched.
In 2016, Dish will begin using its CRM data, email matching and other media to ensure the correct message will be used -- not just to find new customers, but to retain quality customers. "Our motto for 2016 is 'Drive Profitable Customers Profitably," Gray says -- adding that the strategy will also focus on personalization to drive consumers to great content.
Ad blocking also moved search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing to the forefront. Gray admits that Dish has been a little complacent during the past few years, depending heavily on paid-search advertising, but she says it's time to revise the company's organic strategy.
There's a flip side to all this ad-blocking. On Thursday, BlockIQ launched technology dubbed BlockBypass, which allows any Web site to continue serving ads to users running browser-based AdBlock software. AdBlock interferes with the HTML and proper loading of a Web site to block ads from displaying on both desktop and mobile devices.