The rising, widespread use of ad blocking technology is sending a powerful message to advertisers and their agencies. Users are opting in to this software—at the alarming rate of about 181 million a month—because far too many advertisers are running digital display and video units without regard to the user experience.
Users find the ads intrusive, annoying, often irrelevant and difficult to navigate around. They are enraged—not engaged—and rebelling by downloading the software.
Ads must enhance, rather than disrupt the online experience. Agencies have a responsibility to create digital ads that are relevant and enticing without being overly intrusive, so users will want to click on them—not skip them.
Formats and techniques such as native advertising, contextual targeting and mobile-first optimization, as well as shorter and more concise video lengths are critical to ensuring better user engagement. And being laser-focused on the appropriate measurement metrics (hint: it’s not just about cost-per-click) will further ensure we’re optimizing a campaign’s engagement effectiveness.
This is the ad industry’s wake-up call: With a potential loss of an estimated 25 percent in digital ad revenues, we can’t afford not to listen.
Austin Williams is an outcomes-driven full service advertising, marketing, digital and public relations agency, creating ideas that inspire action for clients in healthcare, higher education, financial services, nonprofits and professional services.