To those who fear ad blocking, remember the words of Carl Jung, “What you resist, persists.”
The fact is, ad blocking has been around, in various forms, for lots and lots of years. And frankly, we (the marketers) are also consumers—as such, can we admit that freedom of choice is a pretty great thing? Right, so can we find a way to flow around the blocks? I believe we can, when we shift our focus.
The whole ad blocking issue is really about publishers, because when ads are blocked, publishers can’t distribute ad content inside their content—which is their revenue system. That’s it, that’s why there’s an issue and increased chatter in the industry. Don’t make it bigger or closer to home than that. In the bigger picture, we are not hearing creative people talking about how ad blockers are killing their industry—instead, they’re saying it’s good because it means everyone will try to do better work, an upside. So it’s all in how you look at it; shift your focus.
One of the main reasons people install ad blockers is because of the sheer amount of intrusions, coupled with digital ad experiences that leave them frustrated. So, be aware of these reasons and address them by creating advertising that is relevant and inspires people to connect, rather than block.
Here are five steps toward shifting your focus and your marketing effectiveness:
• Establish a relevant and relatable Purpose, Evolve your brand into something people care about. This becomes the catalyst for brand-consumer connection.
• Imagine actions of co-creation, Think about the variety of ways people could potentially participate with you in your Purpose. This becomes a type of framework for your story.
• Craft ideas into experiences, People remember experiences much more than a story they hear about. Create meaningful connections with people through having experiences with your brand. This becomes your platform for ‘Shared Stories’ where people make your brand part of their story (and they share it with others).
• Build a culture that collaborates, Include and engage employees, vendors, partners, and stakeholders as the working pieces of your Purpose and your story—as such, they can make an real and positive impact on cohesion and effectiveness.
• Stop creating ads, start creating worlds, Design a Story System, rather than ads or even a campaign—be mindful that each component of the system should work as a connector to the others. In other words, end with a comma, rather than a period (like each of these bullet points did).
Although your efforts may still include some advertising with publishers, having a Story System makes you less at-risk from suffering the affects from ad blockers because you are building a system that is desirable to the people you want in your world. An engaging part of that system is about acquisition and awareness, and yes ad blockers affect that, but if you are truly looking at the best means to connect, and acquire interest from people, you’re not really going to rely on interstitials or mobile gaming sites as your sole purpose for engaging people.
When we shift our focus to a world where brands and people participate together in a Purpose that each mutually cares about, it provides an organically emotional and foundationally meaningful connection. Those are the connections and experiences that create memories and inspire sharing (not blocking) and this is the world where everyone wins.
By Darren (Daz) McColl (@daz_mc), Chief Brand & Marketing Strategy Officer, Global