The rise of ad blocking should be a clear sign to the industry that what they are doing is not working. The aesthetically pleasing, narrative-driven advertising that is standard offline has not been carried over to online, and the folly of this is beginning to become clear. People don’t want it. Global IP traffic is set to pass the zettabyte threshold by the end of this year, which is nearly one billion gigabytes every month. There is clearly a massive audience, but advertisers have failed to understand it - focusing too much on hitting as many people as possible as often as possible, rather than hitting people in the right way.
This is partly due to the trend for making decisions based on data without really having the capabilities in place to properly leverage it. Advertisers now have huge amounts of information about their audience at their disposal, but too often they are using it simply to find ways to bombard people with ads.
In 2016, advertisers need to re-evaluate their digital operations to ensure that they are getting the most from their campaigns, and to do this they need to ensure that the digital content they are putting out is in sync with users' interests, needs, and consumption habits.
According to research from VB Insight, an ad that’s targeted to a customer’s needs and desires at just the right time and in just the right way will gain the attention of 49% of Americans. Meanwhile, 17% said they would engage with a well-placed ad to determine whether it’s worthy of further action, and 24% will actively check out the product or service you’re offering.
Indeed, a number of the major tech success stories are driven in large part by personalization algorithms. Amazon’s success is perhaps the best known example, but the recommendation engines in media streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix have greatly aided their success too. Advertisers need to be utilizing their data in such a way as to have similar results. By analyzing online content and user consumption patterns, analytics tools can help build detailed profiles of individual consumers ready for segmentation and targeting.
Look To Mobile
In 2015, 2.1 billion mobile users downloaded over 350 billion apps and increased the amount of time they spent on their devices by roughly 76% in comparison with 2014. Despite this, according to Mary Meeker’s yearly trend report, the industry was still under-spending on mobile ads by roughly $25 billion.
Apple’s decision to introduce ad blockers to its software will have a major impact on search advertising on mobile, and will likely see a shift to more in-app advertising. Advertisers have to ensure that their ads are optimized for mobile, and suit the medium itself. People consume information in a different way on their phones, and data caps should be a major consideration.
Video is an extremely useful tool in attracting attention, but it can also be one of the most intrusive. Video pop-ups flicking up and blaring out noise, slowing down the web page and keeping the user from the information they want, will only serve to create animosity. The goal should be to intrude as little as possible on the user experience, and instead draw viewers in with engaging content that they want to click on and see more of.
In terms of advertising before YouTube videos, it is also important to make sure you are doing so before the right video. Advertising before high quality content is a far better way of bringing in viewers than doing so before the latest viral cat video. Even if a video looks like it has more views, they likely have a less captive audience, and audience growth will likely die or stagnate in a much shorter period of time.