With a forecast (from Adobe) that more than $40 billion will be lost to ad blocking this year, and that over 40% of Millennials use ad blockers, is it panic time in Adland?
That was the question put to a panel at the MediaPost Programmatic Insider Summit on Monday by Moderator Kristen Faust, managing director, Performics, part of Publicis Groupe.
The panel consensus was that it is not time to panic. Much of the discussion that followed was about how creative advertising and content players need to think about how their efforts can better resonate with consumers.
Blocking the blockers certainly isn’t the answer, asserted Craig Key, svp, media Space150. That strategy, he added, “is backward.” Developing a better “connection with audience members is more important.”
Nikin Patel, director, digital, MEC, agreed. The industry needs to “listen to what users are asking for,” he said. There’s been much focus on reaching consumers at the right time with the right message, he added. But there’s often a “right way” that tends to get overlooked. “We need to find a way to re-engage,” he said.
According to Patel, one in 10 ads in the U.S. is blocked. In other countries consumers are much less tolerant. In Germany, he noted, one in three ads is blocked.
Using data to create meaningful connections is key, said Lindsay Pullins, director programmatic media, Empower MediaMarketing. “We can learn a lot about people by looking at the ads that they watch,” she said. She noted that her agency does a lot of data mining to develop content for brands, and said, “it’s working.”
Content isn’t cheap and monetizing it can be a challenge. Brandon Geary, chief strategy officer Possible, opined that “more emphasis” should be placed on native advertising as a way of integrating marketing messages with content.
Geary cited a recent effort by Starbucks and BuzzFeed that he described as “very clean…it’s hard to tell where Starbucks ends and BuzzFeed begins.”
Perhaps a bigger issue is the lack of communication between creatives and those who plan and buy advertising. Key noted the tendency of planners to “throw a spec sheet over the fence without context,” with a mandate to have creative ready in two weeks.
But the disconnect works both ways, said Geary, who noted that creatives often dismiss programmatic as the “evil machine.”
The advent of programmatic and real-time marketing shouldn’t mean the end of thoughtful strategizing said Patel. “The power to react and turn on a dime doesn’t mean you can’t take a step back and look at it,” he said.