Digital media has transformed the advertising industry. Armed with information on consumer location and behavior and equipped with amazing technology and trusted
partners, meaningful marketing has never been easier.
But we shouldn’t lose sight of the purpose of advertising: to connect with real people in an
effort to promote or sell.
The best connections should happen organically, but too
often in today’s digitally connected world, we’re adopting a spray-and-pray approach that interrupts a user’s experience and causes major annoyance. The reality is that 33% of people
find display ads intolerable, and only 2.8%
think the ones they see are actually relevant to their
circumstances. We should find alternatives to intrusive interruptions.
Consumers are fighting back. In 2015, U.S. ad blocking grew by 48% and now has a market penetration of
15 percent. That figure might not sound ominous, but a recent Business Insider survey found almost half of those who weren’t using ad blockers didn’t even know the technology
While many publishers are responding with requests that users disable their ad blockers when
viewing content, perhaps we can explore a more concerted industrywide response. Some 64% of ad-blocking millennials do so to avoid website clutter, and we need to address that problem.
If we don’t, more consumers will use ad blockers — or even change their content-consumption experience to channels
that are not supported by ads.
The most important factor is that we keep connecting with real people.
Here are five approaches to adopt:
1. Native Advertising
Experts predict 63% of mobile-display ads will be native by 2020, with media buyers spending about $53 billion on this approach. These ads
satisfy the consumer’s desire for stories, and that satisfaction is reflected in user preferences. Some 58%
of millennials say they like the in-feed native-ad experience, per IAB These ads
don’t pop up, and they’re not intrusive. They’re part of the content experience, and more advertisers must leverage them to offer genuine value to consumers.
2. Social Video
Users watch 100
million hours of video on Facebook every day, and the average American adult watches more than an hour of digital video daily. Video is the new norm for social media, and advertisers must tap into
that potential. Instead of wasting our time on untargeted, impersonal interruptions, we should put our energy into creating engaging, relevant videos. We need to deliver mid-scroll thumb-stopping
experiences on all the right social media channels.
3. Live Video
Apps like Periscope increased the popularity of live video, and more platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have now increased capabilities
and invested in live-streaming. Even Twitter is getting in on the action, with a deal to stream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games in the upcoming NFL season. Live-streaming allows
marketers to offer consumers a more direct, engaged, and positive experience.
With more than 100 million daily active users, Snapchat has moved beyond just the young Millennial niche. Its
content is short-lived by nature, and it taps into the FOMO factor — consumers never want to feel they’ve missed out. Snaps are unobtrusive, offer relevant content to consumers, and enjoy
great reach, too.
Many brands are already getting creative in their Snapchat campaigns, and the best encourage user
5. Search and Discovery
Artificial intelligence will change the way we interact with brands. First-generation digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are advancing with
better natural-language comprehension and adding new integrations. Soon, bots could offer a great way to deliver valuable, personalized, and even predictive information to consumers.
Facebook is embracing this growing trend: In April, Harvard Business Review reported the company launched a
program for brands to create AI customer service on its platform. As consumers get used to interacting with these bots, this technology will transform the way we look to connect with (and market to)
Today’s digital users are tech-savvy: They have too many choices for intrusive
marketing approaches, and they are increasingly turned off by impersonal interruptions. Our industry needs to ensure we deliver real value to consumers in a way that is engaging and relevant. When you
connect meaningfully with your audiences, they’ll return the favor.