Monday, 11 November 2013

Why customers who rebuff online advertising will pay more now and even more in the future

Browsers online now offer ad blockers. Extensions allowing users to stop adverts appearing on websites they visit.

This ensures that users can have a pleasant browsing experience without being seeing adverts hoping to entice them buy a product. It’s not good for them and I don’t recommend anyone installing one, unless you want to pay more for your online purchases.

There’s even some statistics from a test done earlier this year showing 22% of ad space was blocked by these things I can guarantee you that those people who use online ad blockers and email blockers are missing out on unique voucher codes, targeted bundles of products, flash sales and many other online advertising messages which other advert embracing consumers are getting.

It doesn’t bother me because I know that those users are paying more for products and delivering more profit for the companies which they buy from.

A typical ad blocker user
It bothers me because the majority of people who don't like online advertising, want everything for free.

They want to block the popup ads for their illegal sports viewing online or the popup ads asking if they want to meet local girls in the area whilst they are on those naughty websites.

Or maybe they just don't want to see advertising online because they have already subscribed to all the relevant places they purchase from and know the inner workings of online shopping to know exactly how to get the best deal.

Many ad spaces online are in places which aren’t intrusive. I believe that includes adverts with a high yield for websites (above the fold, within the copy and adecent size).

I understand that some adverts impair the user experience and I guess do compare to the scenario with TV adverts impairing experience for it’s users.

These are the likes of popup ads which have to be closed in order to view content, or adverts which have to be viewed in order to see video content. For those kinds of online adverts I understand how an ad blocker could be justified (if on a legitimate and legal website), because the advertising is actually stopping someone getting to content which has taken significant time or investment.

I don’t see the justification in blocking adverts alongside content or within content, especially if it’s personalised.

Websites have to make money and if those websites are purely information based the only 3 options to earn money are:

  • Advertising
  • Subscriptions
  • Donations 
Or a combination of the three.

Some users don’t want any of those three to be implemented because they want something for nothing. But these people are cretins aren’t they. Just because you are on a website you cannot get information for sod all, all the time.

If I was a website owner providing really good content like MoneySavingExpert I would simply wait for the ad code to return an error and just block that user from the website, displaying a message:

“Turn your shitty ad blocker off, I give you really good information and in return you read it and I make some money, so do it or get the fuck off my website”. 

The only people who lose out are the consumer when it comes to ad blocking. You will end up having websites blocking you because they cannot make anything from you. Customers with ad blockers will pay more for products and miss out on flash sales and bespoke offers.

To quote Kevin Keegan, I would LOVE IT if I am in a position where consumers are complaining that they missed out on an offer because they have blocked advertising online.

My response would be something like Simon Pegg' on the right.

So where could ad blocking lead us? 

Is this the future for online marketers?
Well that’s a massive question with many potential paths and answers, but let me give my tangent on the path it could take.

The article I quoted previously stated that 100% of online adverts could be blocked by 2018 if the current trend of ad blocking installations continues.

A poll in regards to TV advertising and the BBC tell us: Seven out of Ten people want the license fee abolished – Goodbye non advertising BBC 1, 2 and all other channels and websites then.

It seems to contradict the view towards online advertising. People don’t want it, but don’t want to pay not to have it.

So with that in mind….

Websites could block people who block adverts 

Websites which provide content to users and use advertising as their main source of income could block users who block adverts. This would mean users who previously got this information and cost that website money would have to find another source to get their information.

Websites could force people to subscribe to get access to content with one of the provisos that they have to allow advertising to appear or allow them to email them with third party offers. This is something which will damage all customers and would prevent the ad blockers getting access to free information.

Ad blocking customers will lose out more often 

Is this how people will react to advertising in the future,
because it's that good?
The shift of online advertising is heavily towards personalisation and personaltimesation (yeah I just MADE THAT SHIT RIGHT UP).

Adverts personal to that user at a time they are definitely interested in purchasing a product. This means if you block this kind of marketing activity you may never get an offer and the frequency you will be paying more than other customers for products will increase.

We will more to more real time advertising and search results, targeted by social profiling and other metrics marketing companies and departments will use to get their products in front of us at the right time. Only advertising can do this, and in places users regularly visit, social media, news and video websites.

If you cannot see adverts or click trackable links then you will miss out.

Users could earn money opting into adverts 

If the internet advertising really does end up getting blocked to 100%, there could be advertising networks offering the ability for users to earn money on a CPM, CPC basis for opting into advertising and passing key bits of information to help get this targeted.

We could see users create online accounts with advertising companies to complete surveys, feedback and more to receive marketing messages and offerings online.

We already see incentives for surveys and marketing submissions online, this would be to a whole new level, but it's nothing new.

Marketing departments will shrink but will be highly focussed 

Optimisation? I'll give you
With many ad channels blocked and TV advertising becoming the reach for businesses again, many departments will shrink and be highly focussed on sales. Marketing would become a completely sales focussed channel working towards driving only leads and sales to the websites. Reach would disappear.

Essentially all online marketing would aim to be performance based and only the strongest and best online marketers would survive.

We would probably also see offline channels such as digital billboards, augmented reality marketing suddenly take off and become the norm and something which Tesco are trialling in some petrol stations in the UK. Very 80’s Sci-Fi indeed.

It won’t happen though, how can it? 

We live in a world where business drives most things we do, and they won’t let consumer behaviour stop them using us as a product.

Why would they and to a certain extent why would we? We know business is there to make a profit; we should be savvy as customers and get the most for our money and drive competition which will do by advertising to us, ideally at the right time, with the right message.

So it doesn’t make sense to remove marketing online, because no one wins, everyone loses and it will cost us all a lot of jobs, money and time to get what we all want.

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