And so out comes yet another study stating the obvious: ad blocking is killing the traditional online advertising model. A new study from Juniper Research predicts that by 2020, publishers will experience $27 billion in lost revenues -- all because of the rise in use of ad blockers.
On the one hand, this should have publishers freaking out. On the other, as one thing dies, another is born in its place. And that newly birthed thing is content marketing, inbound marketing, native advertising, sponsored content or whatever name you choose to apply to the notion of using editorial to stand in for advertising.
The days of debating whether or not content marketing has a place in the previously walled garden of editorial are over. The jury has spoken: pretty much everything you read will now be an advertisement for something.
So while ad blockers may indeed make a hefty dent in publisher revenues, those losses may be more than made up for by content marketing-fueled native advertising.
In fact, according to PQ Media's Global Content Marketing Forecast 2015-2019, content marketing is set to become a $313 billion industry globally by 2019. Now that $313 billion figure includes the amount of money brands and agencies spend on services to create content marketing, so it isn't really an apples to apples comparison.
But the very same research firm predicts that revenues from content marketing will hit $54.25 billion by 2019, seemingly a figure that would help counter the aforementioned publisher losses.
Point being, money and resulting commerce will flow through the channel that offers the least path of resistance. In the ad world, that certainly seems to be anything other than traditional display advertising.
John Hegarty is, however, not a fan of content marketing. Speaking () to Business Insider, he made an argument for the power of "regular" advertising which, in my opinion, doesn't really support "regular" advertising in any way. He said, "I can say 'Vorsprung durch Technik' and you instantly know what I'm talking about (it was the ad slogan Hegarty devised for Audi back in the 1980s.) That came out as a 60-second TV ad and there we are, 35 years later," Hegarty said. We seem to have lost a desire to do that ... Can anybody tell me, in the last 10 years, a piece of content that people remember and can quote back?"
Um yeah, but Vorsprung what??? OK, yeah, that tagline was a thing. I guess. Ask anyone under 45 if they've ever heard of it. I'm quite sure their answer will be akin to respondents in those YouTube videos who are asked to explain what the Civil War was about. Or who the Vice President is. Or why they are voting for Hillary.
Further confirming he really doesn't understand the way of things these days. Hegarty added "Nobody I've ever spoken to has ever said: 'Have you seen the BuzzFeed puppy?'" He refers to Purina's Puppyhood video by Purina but it's really the same thing as his claim that everyone knows about that Audi tagline. Which is not true.
People remember interesting things, whether it is an ad or a piece of funny content. They forget things that are uninteresting...whether it is an ad or a piece of funny content. Traditional advertising -- the kind Hegarty likes -- just doesn't work anymore because it's ignored, blocked, skipped. People have moved on. It's over. It's dead. Is content marketing the panacea everyone would like it to be? Of course not but it's what we've got right now.
Add ad blocking into the equation and Hegarty's argument doesn't have much on which to stand.