Programs and plugins that block ads on desktop and mobile web browsers have been around for a few years. But they hadn't led to worries or even panic among marketers until last year, when Apple announced that it would include ad-blocking capabilities for its Safari browser in the release of iOS 9. Just like that, a formerly niche tool went mainstream.
The months since have seen a rapid rise of ad blocking apps, which now dominate Apple and Android download charts. As millions of consumers are blocking ads, marketers have begun to panic: how are they supposed to spread the word about their brand if they're being shut out? The answer is deceptively simple: influencer marketing. Here are 3 conclusions we can draw from the rise of ad blocking.
1) Consumers are Tired of Ads
Above all, the rapid rise of ad blocking capability stems from one major underlying current: consumers are simply getting tired of ads. No less than 45 million U.S. internet users now regular use ad blocking software for a more organic content experience, and that number is expected to continue rising.
By the millions, American consumers have decided that getting exposed to more than 360 individual advertisements is simply too much. When they search on Google or log into Facebook, they want to get relevant results and hear from friends rather than being bombarded by promotional messages. And given the ubiquity of digital advertisements, who could blame them?
2) Revenue Will Be Lost
For marketers relying on digital ads to spread their message, the consequences of this development are undoubtedly troubling. As much as half of your target audience may simply be unreachable via digital ads, staying in the dark about your brand as a result.
According to one projection, advertisers will lose an astonishing $41 billion in 2016 advertising revenue as a result of ad blocking. Unsurprisingly, marketers relying on digital ads for brand exposure and revenue generation are panicking. Some went so far as to calling it the "Ad-Blocking Apocalypse."
3) Alternative Outreach is Needed
In reality, though, the rise of ad blockers is no need to panic. User are undoubtedly tired of ads, which is why they're starting to take action and control of their digital content exposure. But the one thing they're not doing is cutting their digital time as a result. In fact, the average consumer continues to spend more time online every single year.
Digital media consumption is not decreasing; the way in which we consume digital media is. Consumers don't want to hear promotional messages from brands, preferring authentic messages from their peers instead. For marketers, this insight offers an invaluable opportunity.
Enter influencer marketing. What if, rather than spending your time and resources trying to reach an audience that does not want to hear from you, you would spend it on engaging the influencers to whom your audience does want to listen? Naturally, your efforts will be much more successful.
Influencer marketing does not just offer theoretical benefits in an ad blocking age. Businesses who engage in this philosophy experience significant ROI. One study suggested an ROI that is 11 times as high as traditional banner ads, while another showed peer-focused marketing to generate $6.50 for every dollar spent.
In short, influencer marketing offers an ideal opportunity for marketers to circumvent ad blocking technology and get their message straight to their target audience. It's a marketing method specifically designed for an age in which consumers are able to decide who they want to listen to, seeking authenticity rather than promotions. So if you're worried that ad blocking may negatively influence your marketing strategy, consider influencer marketing as a more authentic, organic and beneficial alternative.