It is not fun to realize that there are people and businesses out there trying to make a living to make sure that what we do for a living is never seen. Groups are out there, pooling their intellectual capital in order to rid our business environment of marketing and advertising.
And they are gaining ground.
There have been several articles out recently about the rise of ad-blocking software and technology. Adobe recently published a report with help from digital companies, so perhaps the study has been the catalyst of all the chatter about it. No surprise, the numbers reported in the study are a bit startling. The study suggests that $21.8 billion dollars were lost in global revenue in online advertising, and that number is expected to nearly double to $41 billion.
That is not chump change.
But we want to spend less time focusing on the quantitative rise of ad-blocking and more time on why it is happening. One of our major gripes with AdLand is its inherent failure to be proactive, especially when we can see the trend approaching. We know that certain markets and demographics hate online and search-engine advertising. We know that those gaming or watching movies are going to be really upset when they get interrupted with an ad or a sponsor message.
Why do we continue these actions when we know we're driving them to desperate measures? We are making ad blocking more attractive every time we fail to modify our strategy.
There are studies out there that strongly suggest that people will like advertising more if it caters to what they want or if it enhances (rather than interrupts) their experience. Paradoxically, these same people include a large plurality who will not give up personal information in order for brands to mine it in order to provide a personalized message.
Yes, our path to satisfy our consumer is truly an uphill battle. But it is not impossible.
Let us not condemn the ad-blocking business. It is simply a negative byproduct created by our industry's failure to provide worthwhile messages to prospective consumers. It's economics; the ad blockers are simply filling a want for a market we unwittingly created. Now that we know this, let's use AdLand's reactive powers to win the consumer back.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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