Could ad blockers ruin your online marketing strategies?
The world of online and digital marketing is constantly evolving. Strategies that worked tremendously well last year, or even last month, can quickly become obsolete due to changes in user habits, software or a plethora of other factors. One big change, that could seriously disrupt the online marketing strategies of several major players is Apple’s announcement that its ubiquitous Safari mobile web browser will begin supporting content blockers with the release of iOS 9. This means that mobile users will be able to block banner advertising from appearing when they browse the internet using Safari.
Some sources have already predicted doom for the entire online advertising industry. In this article we’ll do our best to keep a cool head, examine what this move actually means and discuss strategies that you can use in your online marketing to ensure that your advertising still reaches the people you want it to.
What does Apple’s move actually mean to you?
Apple’s move means that, for the first time, people (your prospective customers) will be able to stop adverts from displaying when they browse the web. This includes banner advertisements and Google AdWords advertisements that appear above and to the right of search results. It’s difficult to gauge how many users are likely to begin using such extensions. Recent statistics suggest that around 25% of desktop users use some form of ad-blocking software but, since this is a survey that relies on users reporting their own behaviour, it’s difficult to verify the numbers.
It’s also worth remembering that the online advertising industry has been here before. When the Google Toolbar launched back in the year 2000 it included a pop-up blocker. At the time, pop-up (and pop-under) advertising were endemic across the web. Closing your main web browser window generally revealed at least half a dozen adverts underneath.
Pop-up blockers grew in popularity over the next few years and yet the online advertising market didn’t shrink – in fact it boomed, and now represents 23% of total global marketing spend. There’s no reason why the same can’t happen here – advertisers will simply have to adjust their strategies.
Alternative forms of advertising
Apple’s content blockers will only apply to content viewed through the Safari web browser. This means that any adverts displayed within apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram won’t be affected. The changes may also encourage online advertisers to be more intelligent about who they advertise to and when. An effective e-mail nurture campaign will not be impacted by these changes and will allow you to tailor your message much more than a broad-brush online marketing campaign.
It’s also worth considering working with bloggers and other influencers. As always, these campaigns need to be carefully planned and managed to avoid appearing crass and putting off potential customers. Again, it’s crucial to consider your ideal client persona before deciding who to work with on a sponsored content campaign. Only then can you know how best to approach them, and start writing the message that you want to convey.
What comes next?
This is unlikely to be the last major change we see to online marketing in 2015. You never know quite what’s around the corner and it’s crucial to build an online marketing strategy that isn’t entirely reliant on one form of advertising or promotion for its success. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on the latest changes or, if you’d like to improve the results from your current online marketing strategies, then why not talk to us about a free marketing review?