Ad Blocking impact on B2B marketing

LIsa Vitale marketing GuruAd Blocking impact on B2B marketing

Advertisers may just about have hit the limit on what consumers are willing to tolerate in web and mobile marketing experiences. Apple’s decision to allow ad-blocking on it’s mobile platforms is a sure sign that consumers are looking for more control over what is put before their eyes. But how will that impact B2B marketing strategies?

You may end up with a choice between paying ad blockers to let your ads coast, or developing content that prospects think they want.

Consumers have become sick of looking at ads that block content they want to read. They seem to hate banners even more. Companies have started listening and are offering ways for consumers to block the accursed ads.

The concept is simple. Ad blockers for internet browsers and mobile apps make it possible for end users to turn off ads they don’t want to be bothered by. Business Insider global advertising editor Lara O’Reilly in a recent interview with NPR’s All Tech Considered cited data that 144 million people across the globe used an ad blocker in 2014, up 70% from 2013.

Ad blocking could cost advertisers $22 billion this year alone, according to a study by Adobe and PageFair. “Ad blocking has already become a big issue for digital media companies, whose primary revenue comes from advertising,” says Michael Brenner of B2B Marketing Insider.

Still, as WIRED points out, ad blocking in not a new phenomenon. But Apple’s decision to allow ad blocking apps for iOS 9 was a new wrinkle. “Google, Facebook, and Twitter run on ads. YouTube, Hulu, and WIRED run on ads. Apple, however, does not,” writes WIRED’s Julia Greenberg.

“Apple is trying to pull phone and pad users off the web,” Greenberg surmised. It would much prefer that iPhone users stay within the apps that it has certified and can more closely control.

While this may seem like more of a concern for digital publishers and B2C marketers, it does have B2B ramifications. Most relevant to B2B marketers, perhaps, is that ad blockers may mistake website functionality for ad-serving scripts. “In reality, the functionality could be powering personalization, analytics, testing, shopping cart, or any number of benign tools that are essential to the website running smoothly,” James Gardner of Connective DX, a digital experience agency, tells B2B News Network.

BrokenAdNo doubt, publishers will find ways around today’s ad blockers. Then the ad blockers will come up with new technology to block those new techniques. Welcome to the digital advertising arms race!

So what can you do if web-based advertising is a key part of your marketing strategy? You may already be using native advertising, which is content designed to mimic the look and feel of editorial content on publishers’ web sites.

“Sixty-three percent of IT pros find native advertising to be influential, with 50% reporting that they use information gleaned from native ads to help them do their jobs,” says Winnie Ng Schuchman of UBM Tech’s Business Technology Media Group.

Still, even if native advertising can circumvent ad blockers, it’s got to deliver content that B2B readers need and value. If you can connect on that level, prospects will subscribe to the content.

Prospect surveys are a great way to understand what makes target audiences tick and to capture valuable information about the moods of IT decision-makers and market trends. These surveys provide data and insights that can form the basis of compelling content that can help you directly connect with potential buyers. For more information, download our market brief: Prospect Surveys Solve 4 Marketing Challenges.