Is Content Marketing the Solution to Ad Blocking?
Google is just one arm of the ad-blocking monster, but it’s muscular. “Google Disabled 49% More Ads in 2015,” reports the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Another appendage, Apple, recently gave 700 million of its customers ad blocking options, too. So will content marketing enable marketers to reach consumers?
“If you’re already doing content marketing, consider devoting more of your budget to those efforts,” reads “Worried About Ad Blocking Updates?” in Target Marketing on Jan. 5. “After all, every new blog post and landing page you publish is another indexed Web page for people to find in search engines. Over time, ad blockers may evolve to crawl ads so they can differentiate quality ad copy from spam and give users the enhanced mobile experiences they seek. But as we wait, now is a good time to experiment with optimized and shareable content to see how organic engagement drives new leads.”
The need to devote more money to content marketing may be more urgent than the Target Marketing article says.
“[Google,] the Alphabet Inc. unit, the world’s largest digital advertising company, said it removed more than 780 million ads in 2015 for violating its policies, up from 524 million in 2014, 350 million in 2013 and 220 million in 2012,” writes Alistair Barr in the WSJ Digits blog post.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s SVP of ads and commerce, penned the post “How We Fought Bad Ads in 2015.” His words appeared Thursday in Google’s blog.
“In 2016, we’re planning updates like further restricting what can be advertised as effective for weight loss, and adding new protections against malware and bots,” Ramaswamy says. “We want to make sure all the ads you see are helpful and welcome and we’ll keep fighting to make that a reality.”
While Ramaswamy’s comments are aimed at consumers — “Some ads are just plain bad, like ads that carry malware, cover up content you’re trying to see or promote fake goods” — Barr’s take a different tack.
“More than 1,000 of Google’s 60,000 employees monitor and remove ads, an important task because the company gets about 90 percent of its revenue from advertising,” Barr writes. “It’s also been hit financially for not adequately monitoring ads.”
Meanwhile, marketers may want to be careful about using programmatic ads for native advertising.
While John West’s October 2015 Quartz post “Ad Blockers Will Destroy Listicles and Other Dumb Clickbait” suggests marketers can buy native ads from publishers because they’re not blocked, Target Marketing reader Dave Hendricks says in November 2015 that native ads are “blockable.” (Note that Alphabet says in October 2015 that Q3 brought “Substantial growth of mobile search revenue, complemented by contributions from YouTube and Programmatic Advertising.”)
For now, he claims “publishers have no problem with robots, since robots create spend. Advertisers don't care about ad blockers, since they don't pay for ads that users can't (possibly) see.” [Editor’s note: Target Marketing works very hard to eliminate robots in click counts.]
Hendricks suggests marketers focus on logged-in, identifiable audiences.
What do marketers think?
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Related story: Worried About Ad Blocking Updates?