6 Tips for Handling Viewability, Fraud and Ad Blockers
The advertising and marketing industries are in the process of being reimagined. Consumers have spoken loud and clear: Current advertising messages aren’t cutting it. As a result, they’re turning to ad blockers to prevent an overabundance of banner and display ads from clogging up their Web browsers.
Publishers are struggling to increase ad engagement, which has led to the issue of viewability. The IAB indicates the average viewability of an advertisement is 17 seconds, but a viewer could simply read the content on a Web page and never even glance at the ad; yet, that will still count as an ad view. This also brings up the issue of bots and fraudulent impressions. The ANA study reported in January that advertisers will lose upwards of $7.2 billion dollars due to bots. So what is a marketer to do?
Below are six tips to help marketers in the wake of viewability concerns, fraud and ad blockers.
1. Use Channels Immune to Ad Blockers
Did you know social channels can’t be blocked by ad blockers? Influencer content is another option that cannot be blocked — and you get the benefit of creativity in the content an influencer creates, as well as higher engagement and a more dedicated audience. Also consider native advertisements. Hubspot reported the non-intrusive nature of native ads resulted in 53 percent more views than banner ads. Plus, native ads and influencer content are shareable, so what starts out as an ad can now be passed along to friends and family.
2. Create 'Engageable' Advertisements
Start by understanding how copy and image influence clickthrough rates, as well as engagement rates. Audiences want great content; you can take great content to the next level by optimizing it as an “engageable” advertisement to drive greater engagement. With “engageable” ads, influencer content is turned into a social ad, which your audience can then like, comment on and share with others across their social channels.
3. Understand the Placement of CTAs
Your headline could be the call to action (CTA) or the call to action could be at the bottom of the ad, which is the more traditional position. Depending on the goal of your campaign, having the CTA in the headline, text or newsfeed link description can heavily influence click-through rates (CTR). The true art to creating a social-based ad is to make it as social as possible. For social platforms. CTAs look too much like ads, which actually results in a CTR decrease. If you are using the CTA buttons most social advertising networks already offer, make sure the CTA flows with what you are portraying in the rest of the advertisement.
4. Remember the Importance of A/B Testing
Three words to remember: test, test and test. At Collective Bias, some of our testing has indicated that food ads, for example, with images showing a recipe in progress result in higher engagement than images of a completed. Makes sense, right? Once you’ve come to a conclusion, don’t stop testing — evolve your test. The beauty of social media is that it is always changing; what worked three months ago may not work today! Sometimes the smallest change will net a big result. Once you’ve figured out what works, then put your marketing dollars behind it.
5. Leverage Data to Target the Right Audience With Relevant Content
Most banner ad statistics are based on impressions. Impressions are an old-school metric, when what really matters today is engagement. Targeting is a marketer’s friend, particularly when creating engageable content; it helps you place ads in front of people who are the desired audience of your campaign. When determining who to target, also consider the question “who is worth more to you?” Would you rather have someone passively viewing a banner ad they might not actually “see” or have any interest in; or would you prefer someone who was targeted by interest and behavior, and who can comment on and talk about, like and share your ad? The latter is more likely to drive engagement and revenue.
6. Understand the Audience Who Engages With Lookalike and Retargeting Groups
Once you have identified your desired audience through targeting, pull together a group of consumers who clicked through your advertisement to the content. What you can now do with that group is create “lookalike audiences,” or people who “look like” the audience who clicked your ad, but a social network hasn’t quite identified in the general targeting. That audience then becomes proprietary — no one else can get that same audience.
Ad blocking technologies will only become more advanced and more heavily adopted, viewability rates will only continue to decrease and fraud will only continue to rise unless marketers get smarter about the channels they use and the content they serve to consumers. Marketers and media companies are creatures of habit. They continue to invest in these traditional mediums despite the declining numbers, waste and all of the concerns listed above. What matters most is providing meaningful content on the channels your targeted audience use daily. If marketers can master that balance, they can find success even while the industry is in flux.
As SVP of marketing and content, Holly Pavlika oversees marketing, public relations and social strategy at Collective Bias, a shopper-focused influencer marketing company. Also a blogger, she founded MOMentumNation while serving as the Executive Creative Director and Managing Director at Big Fuel, a pure play social media agency. Holly is an award-winning creative marketing industry veteran who was recognized in 2012 by Klout as the “most influential agency person” and uses her voice for social good with 10X10 Educate Girls, Every Mother Counts, Global Poverty Project and the UN Foundation Shot@Life.