Will Ad blocking nurture greater creativity?

In November 2016, Eyeo GmbH, the German creators behind ad blocking software Adblock Plus, fended off a sixth legal challenge against itself, from media publishers over the legality of its software. In each case brought against Eyeo GmbH and Adblock Plus, the judge has ruled in favour that adblocking is 100% legal.

Media publishers have been the biggest critics of adblocking, publishers such as Germany’s Der Spiegel and America’s Forbes believe that adblocking causes a significant loss of revenue for the websites concerned, meaning that such sites may struggle to produce content that users freely enjoy.

On the other side, consumers are saying they find the distraction of uninvited adverts to be both annoying and disrupting. They say that ad blocking is a legitimate and recognised tool for enhancing the user’s internet experience.

Spiegel Online (the plaintiff in the sixth case brought against Eyeo GmbH) presented their view, that consumers instead should submit to the media and ‘read their news content for free and view some ads’. Now, this opinion seems completely flawed as an advertising strategy to me. What is the point in adverts if they are to be forced onto an audience who have no interest in looking at them? It will only succed in frustrating them.

I think the blanketed advertising approach is a dated strategy, modern consumers are not a passive audience and the huge uptake of ad blocking software indicates that they do not want to be force-fed adverts. I believe that the rise of ad blocking is a backlash in protest of tired and backward marketing conventions.

Digital marketing is moving towards an avenue where content is personalised and made-to-fit the audience rather than the aforementioned blanketed targeting strategies. Content needs to be valuable to the end user and therefore firms need to be more inventive with the content they target the consumer with. This is the reason why I think ad blocking is a positive thing, and why it should help to nurture greater creativity.

For example, you may have noticed that Netflix changes its home screen depending on the shows that you watch and offers suggestions to you for related content that you may also enjoy. This is a useful application of personalised content that encourages the user to stay on the website for longer. I know Netflix definitely do not have a problem with retaining their audience – rather we as the audience have a problem with knowing when to call it a night! This is really an example of how online marketing can now work for us rather than the other way around. If Netflix’s program recommendations were not based upon personalised algorithims who would stick around?

Web users are using ad blocking when advertising becomes a nuisance or disrupts their online experience, but if online marketing can aid the users online experience like in this example then that removes the need for ad blocking.

I do partially agree with Spiegel Online in that media publishers need a source of revenue to fund their content and advertising is the most obvious solution to this problem. However, their advertising needs to be of use to the consumer, and not disrupt their experience.

By doing this firms can then begin to build trust in the consumer and then consumers will feel more obligated to scale back their ad blocking. This process is crucial if the online advertising medium is to still to have impact.


Email Marketing: Tools and Relevancy

In order for email content to be engaging, it must be to the point and relevant. It must be also be highly personalised and add value. By monitoring the behaviour of the consumer brands can then move the user to take an important action, for instance by using the “Foot in the door” on-boarding technique.

The “Foot in the door” email technique, refers to establishing a bond with the consumer by initially calling upon them to perform a small seemingly trivial task, then once a relationship is formed asking them to do the previously-intended “bigger” task. An example of this technique would be to ask your audience to attend an event related to your brand, and then secondly, refer your brand on to five people.

Once the consumer completes the first task, they will feel obliged to comply with the second task, thus forming a bond. The aim of such email marketing is to provide a warm welcome, guidance and motivation to new email subscribers.  This technique will help to convert new email subscribers into eventual brand advocates.

Brands could also make use of mobile phone push notifications and app notifications, when used correctly (and sparingly!) these can be used to provide helpful content to the consumer such as reminders to complete their transaction with your brand, or a reminder to leave feedback after purchase. These can be tailored to appear at a time suitable to the user.

Ultimately, brands need to be aware of the context of their marketing, emails and notifications need to be highly-targeted and only delivered in situations where they will definitely deliver value. Customers are likely to find content personally tailored to them to be highly engaging, however mass irrelevant spamming will lead brands to a quick dead end.



How changes in the Digital Marketing Environment are effecting the Marketing activity of SME’s


The complexity of marketing is growing sharply, owing largely to the adoption of new technologies, with a focus on the personalisation of content, video content, mobile device optimisation, social media marketing and content marketing in particular.

A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit supports the opinion “that marketing will own the customer experience by 2020”, marketers are now snubbing the blanketed, mass market approach, in favour of personalising the customer marketing experience to each individual user.

The adoption of new technologies supports this notion, social media, the internet, mobile internet and mobile apps are set to be the top marketing channels by 2020. And these channels allow for greater personalisation over the customer experience as opposed to traditional channels such as tv and radio, which both lack two way interaction with the end user. Personalisation creates a more positive customer experience and is said to better customer loyalty and improve brand perception.

However, returning to my first point, tailoring services to each individual user makes marketing complex and this could be why many SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises) don’t use digital marketing to drive their business, despite more than three quarters of them believing that digital marketing is critical to their success.

Small businesses are often intimidated by digital marketing, citing the expense and difficulty of use as barriers to use the technology. The digital landscape is fast paced and driven by trends, which also makes it complicated to invest in.

There are also new challenges such as the rise in user ad blocking, which is set to cost content publishers $27bn in lost revenues by 2020. Adoption of ad blocking software is strongest amongst young people, who are the primary users of such technology and with in-app ad blocking set to appear soon, this presents a large problem for digital advertisers.

This supports my view that digital marketing is becoming more focused on tailor-fitted, personalised content that is individual and valuable to the end user, the huge uptake of ad blocking software is a backlash in protest of  the traditional blanketed marketing approach which offers little value to many users and may be seen as a nuisance. It is essential for firms to build up consumer’s trust in digital adverts discourage the use of ad blocking if this medium is to still have impact. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page and Acceptable Ad Initiatives are attempting to do so this but my gut feeling is that they will see little success. Digital marketers must provide users with useful, engaging content, not pester and frustrate them with mass marketed advertising.


I found these articles useful whilst writing this piece: