Worried About Ad Blocking Updates?
If you’re responsible for display advertising at your business (or even if you’re not), chances are you’ve heard the buzz about the new functionality that blocks display ads on mobile devices. In September, Apple announced that it was allowing ad blocking applications in its App Store with the latest iOS 9 software update. This news left a lot of marketers scratching their heads about the state of their mobile ad campaigns.
When Apple approved these apps in September, it opened up the world of digital ad blocking software to more than 700 million iPhone users. With more than half of mobile Internet activity in the United States occurring in Safari, the adoption of iOS 9 blockers means a lot of ads may never be seen by intended audiences. And if you’re advertising on Android devices, you aren’t out of the woods, either. Just days after Apple’s announcement, the most popular ad-blocking application was finally allowed into the Google Play store.
So what’s a marketer to do? You’re constantly bombarded with the commandment that mobile marketing is a necessity, but now there’s a chance that your mobile ads will go unseen. Before you throw in the towel and resort to skywriting, take a few steps to find your bearings and create an intentional response plan:
1. Evaluate Your Current Ad Performance. Do you know how many leads you are capturing with your paid ads? If you can’t attribute actual conversions and costs per lead to your ads, it may be time to re-evaluate your ad spend, anyway. If you’re unsure how much your leads are worth, take a step back and nail down this data to truly determine whether your ads are profitable.
This is especially true if your target niche is one that’s inclined to block ads. Compare iOS and Android traffic in Google Analytics to get a sense of whether you’re losing leads to these ad blockers. Once you know how these updates will impact your bottom line, you can investigate new tactics or scale campaigns that are still performing well.
2. Look for Alternative Lead-Capture Methods. Another big concern for marketers is the fact that iOS 9 apps can also block Google Analytics tracking for certain reporting tools. This varies, depending on the software applications you are using. So check with your particular platform to know whether you’re at risk of seeing customers disappear from your analytics.
Consider creative alternatives to traditional display ads that can be tracked easily and aren’t blocked. For example, test sponsored LinkedIn messages or other social media advertising to experiment with a more tech-savvy set of leads. Affiliate marketing is another good venue, because it turns loyal customers into brand advocates. Try sending a unique referral link to your most devoted customers and offer a discount or swag in exchange for new business.
3. Remember to Just Be Helpful. Users block ads because they don’t want interruptions or bloated devices. They’re naturally drawn to useful, disruption-free content experiences.
If you’re already doing content marketing, consider devoting more of your budget to those efforts. 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.