There are so many marketing tools for web marketers that can be used in order to win back online customers. And they are significantly useful tools for just one thing — to impress their web users’ interest. As they try to get their message across in an ad-blocking world.
Before the emergence of adblockers like Adblock Plus, digital marketing used to be so simple. Until now that we’ve all entered the age of adblocking, banner blindness, and instant gratification. And although patience may be a virtue, it seems to be in dwindling supply.
As a web marketer, if you think the solution is using an Adblock wall — restricting or prohibiting access to content until users turn it off — you should think again. For one thing, 74% of your users will simply leave your site. It might even seem like a Catch-22.
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Each day, tracker blocking is catching on, with notable moves in Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Brave’s today software. Some additional tracking protections are coming to Microsoft Edge and even Chrome, too. That’s on top of tracker blocking from extensions like uBlock Origin, DuckDuckGo, Privacy Badger, and Ghostery.
According to my research, an adblocker extension developer like Adblock Plus doesn’t block tracking by default. Especially, through the Acceptable Ads program — it’s up to the users to decide. If you don’t like Facebook and Twitter tracking you, there’s also an option to disable that social sharing and like buttons.
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Although some consumers don’t mind tracking — and want to support the websites they use — others are just more concerned about privacy. But when users engage the stiffer privacy controls, that shuts off the revenue for a whole platform like eyeo, and not just publishers. So, is adblocking the worst nightmare for web marketers?
Why is Adblocking a Nightmare for Web Marketers?
Clearly, there’re several main reasons why most people choose to use ad-blocking technology as they move along the streets of the internet. Including exposure to malware attacks, frequent interruptions, speed issues, too many ads, and privacy concerns. These tools either block or filter advertising content from websites, pages, and apps.
It’s important to realize, Adblock usage is always highly driven by specific problems within the delivery systems of online advertising. Therefore, it’s not a rejection of digital advertising itself. Recently, many studies — by PageFair, MarketingSherpa, and HubSpot — have been conducted on web users.
In order to understand why some people choose to block ads, these studies are very relevant. And as a result, if you look closely at some of these reasons why people use ad blockers – for some quick insight, you’ll even get totally surprised. And then, you’ll notice quite a bit of overlap.
First of all, most people don’t like intrusive ads or ads that negatively affect a particular web page’s performance. Secondly, according to research by As well as sketchy ads, or ads that are irrelevant, or even ads that are annoying, etc.
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Therefore, let’s not forget even a little bit about adblocking tools like AdBlock Plus and other similar services. And, Yes! They may seem like just tiny web extensions or standalone browsers, yet, they’re dedicated to a better user experience. Just like Brave lets, you stop them in their tracks.
Since the mid-’90s, the internet has been filled with examples of something tiny becoming something big — and then changing everything. Adblocking is one of those stories that will be told, even in years to come – around smoldering tweet-fires by grumpy old digital marketers like me.
Being either desktop, mobile browser add-ons, or standalone browsers, adblockers may cause most paid advertising to completely vanish from your surfing experience. Adblockers have already had a huge impact on the digital landscape. And this impact could only grow larger.
That’s if the popularity of blocking ads reaches a critical mass on mobile as well as desktop. While there are many different reasons given for using an ad blocker, the bottom-line motivation is pretty simple. Either users are sick of being bombarded by ads and experiencing their effects on the user experience, or they have security or privacy concerns.
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A majority of web publishers seem to be getting it from all sides. Simply, because the way people consume news has vastly changed and impacted many publications. Then, you have instances of Google depriving the publications of more and more clicks over time.
Particularly, from direct results (“answers”) to the “view original image” additions into its Chrome browser. And now, many sites that actually do get a visit from a human, at times, fail to monetize the pageview. Why? Because that person has ad-blocking enabled.
Some publishers, such as Forbes and Business Insider, have taken fairly aggressive action by blocking those with ad blockers. Others, such as The Guardian, take a more subtle approach and attempt to appeal to a reader’s logic. To be fair, many may have gone a bit too far.
While jamming ads into content or trying to inflate page views artificially using tactics like multi-page slideshows. Unfortunately, whether or not they were part of the inception or rise in popularity of ad blockers, all publishers are now dealing with the effects.
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Something else is that of late, there’re also publications that attempt to trick ad blockers using various techniques. One maddening method I ran into involved about 20 to 30 separate scripts running. That would eventually auto-load and insert ads if one happened to get blocked.
It’s a common setup on news sites. Whenever I attempt to block the actual ad object, another script and ad would be loaded in its place. I’ve dubbed this the “whack-a-mole” strategy. To me, it appears to be an indication of desperation. Another interesting method is for publishers to use their own server as an ad server.
As a result, this tricks the blockers into thinking the ad is not really an ad. And while this method may trick casual users, advanced users can easily block those ad sections with a right-click setting in their adblocker. This approach seems to anger quite a few users. And there are many message boards and social chatter with derogatory posts raging about this practice.
To put it as an aside, I think companies that employ this technique should be well advised. That using Google’s “cached” version of the page gets around the ad-block wall. Therefore, they need to tighten that loophole up and cast a scowl at their consultants.
The best Marketing Tools for Web Marketers to Use
Before we begin on marketing tools for web marketers, I can now clarify that Google Chrome isn’t killing ad blockers any time soon (as seen in this article by CNET). Now that it even lifted an earlier proposed rules limit from 30,000 to 150,000. But some content blocking extensions are already saying that it’s not enough.
That’s after months of discussion and user threats to quit Chrome if it hurts ad blockers. Google has said it wants to continually allow content-blocking extensions, though, and I don’t expect Adblock Plus to be crippled soon either. On the contrary, Google has some legitimate security concerns.
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Luckily, I strongly believe its engineers can find a solution that doesn’t hobble blockers. But, what if Google goes ahead anyway? Well, other browsers too will swoop in to claim disaffected users. Unfortunately, we all need ads to market our brands, businesses, services, solutions, products, and/or even monetize our websites.
And just like the thumb rule, as webmasters, we have one need, to attract visitors to click on those ads. It’s so unlikely that those same visitors that we die-hard trying to convert, also claim to despise ads. But, when it comes to digital marketing, there is always a way and new tools for web marketers.
Such tools will greatly help you as a web marketer to win both new and old leads. But, the biggest part is on how to play by the book (apart from quality content, good SEO, backlinks, etc.). Let’s have a look at some of the best ways and tools for web marketers to use and win back adblocking users:
1. Influencer Marketing
In the simplest terms, an influencer is a content creator or personality with a relatively large following on a given platform. Their popularity or expertise gives them a great deal of clout with their fans. But they need not be celebrities in the traditional sense of the word.
Individuals like Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber have tens of millions of followers, yes! But, that doesn’t automatically make them a good fit for you and your brand. In fact, research has shown that influencers with fewer than 1000 followers — often called micro-influencers — saw likes 8% of the time, and comments 0.5% of the time on their posts and shares.
What about celebrities with 10+ million fans? Those numbers plummet to 1.6% and 0.04% respectively. When we talk of influencer marketing, it’s a kind of solid partnership with an influencer. In order to review, promote, or link to your content, brand, and products.
It’s widely used and considered one of the most cost-effective and powerful strategies used today. Interest in it saw a rapid growth 90 times between 2013 and 2016. Then, it doubled again in the first nine months of 2017. So, 2021 looks to be no different.
And because there is no “ad” in a sense, nothing is blocked or filtered. This puts your message in front of as many eyes as possible. And if you’ve done your homework beforehand in finding the right influencer, it’s a targeted audience.
Below are a few things to remember:
- Decide on the most appropriate platform for your ideal customer. Are they business professionals? You’ll do better on LinkedIn. Are they teenagers? Snapchat is a safe bet.
- Move away from targeting just the numbers. Kim Kardashian has 58.6 million followers on Twitter, but she’s probably not the best fit for your new email marketing service.
- Look for micro-influencers – say 50,000 or less – active in your industry or popular with your target audience.
- Check a potential influencer’s past history before making contact. You don’t want to discover objectionable, racist, or sexist material after they’re already linked to your brand.
- Finding the right influencer is the most important part of the whole strategy. Take your time. Do it right.
- Look at the engagement a typical post generates. Is it getting plenty of likes, shares, and comments?
- Next, follow them. Engage with their content. Leave genuine comments. Then, reach out to them via email or a private direct message. Talk about why you think a partnership would benefit you both, and how your product fills a need for their audience.
- Don’t give them too much or too little in crafting a message that will resonate with their audience. Work together.
Done right, influencer marketing bypasses ad-blockers and delivers marketing that people actually want to see. Teenagers on YouTube, for example, trust the opinion and recommendations of influencers more than celebrities. They relate better to them and believe the influencer understands them as well or better than their friends.
2. Native Advertising
Of course, you’ve encountered native ads in your daily web browsing, even if you don’t realize it. They’re very popular on news and aggregate sites.
Oftentimes, traditional online ads always try to stand out from the background — they might use a different font or color. They might flash, or wiggle, or bounce, or autoplay a video or audio clip. Why? Because they want you to notice them. And that’s their downfall: traditional display ads are very easy for blockers to identify and filter.
That’s where native advertising comes in. Native ads mimic the digital environment in which they appear — they’ll try and blend in. They don’t want to interrupt the user experience in any way. And ideally, they don’t even want you to notice it’s an ad at all. In fact, they might only be discernible as an ad by the Sponsored or Promoted tag most sites place on them.
Click a native ad, and it usually leads to a page that looks and feels like a regular blog post or article. It can easily be shared. But it still has a message. The post includes or features the brand, product, or service being promoted in some way. It often has a call-to-action such as signing up to receive a special report or newsletter.
3. Social Ads
When we talk of marketing tools for web marketers, you don’t need me to tell you just how popular social media is today. We spend more time on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others than we do on any other type. It’s our favorite online activity.
There are over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 800 million on Instagram, 500 million on LinkedIn, 330 million on Twitter, and 178 million on Snapchat. Worldwide, there are 3.03 billion active social media users (compared to 3.82 billion internet users). That’s a massive potential reach and audience.
So, it makes sense that social ads are taking over. Everyone spends time there. And it’s relatively easy to blend in and make your ads appear less like ads and more like shares, posts, and tweets. Not to mention, every social media platform now offers the ability to advertise and market in some way.
Social ads don’t strike social users as ads at all. They’re part of the experience. It’s marketing in a more organic, natural, and unobtrusive way. The hardest part is choosing the right platform and the right ad type to reach and resonate with your customers, not deciding whether you should try it in the first place.
4. In-App Ads
You’ve no doubt noticed the proliferation of in-app ads over the past few years. Any time you download and install a free app, you’re most likely going to be subjected to at least a few ads. It’s only fair, right? Apps are big business. And as the saying goes, there’s an app for just anything.
From gaming, entertainment, finance, travel, reviews, meditation, exercise, and so on and so forth. Do you need something, anything? An app exists to help you with it. And in 2018, in-app ads are the fuel that drives the mobile app engine. Video ads, display ads, and native ads account for 56% of app revenue sources.
Developers need to make a living, too. But, it is a very fine line. If you’ve ever encountered an in-app ad, you’ve also likely been annoyed by one. There’s only so much space on a smartphone or tablet screen. Losing any to an ad can be irritating and frustrating.
Talking of marketing tools for web marketers, many marketers and developers are already seeing positive results with rewarded video ads. App users are offered a choice: watch a brief video ad in exchange for an in-app reward (a free upgrade, additional life, downloadable template, exclusive content, etc.), or skip it.
No coercion. No aggressive sell. It’s entirely up to the individual whether they watch or not. There are services like AdColony and Unity that can connect advertisers and publishers in the app world.
5. Content Marketing
Here is yet another great cause. Content marketing tools for web marketers are perhaps the original ad-blocker killer and is still going strong. Even without the existence of blockers, it would still be a crucial cog in your digital content marketing efforts.
Providing valuable, targeted, and useful content for free is a great way to spread awareness of your brand. As you also increase engagement, build authority and expertise, and generate both leads and goodwill. Creating and sharing blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, and more is the ultimate method for winning in the digital arena.
It’s not salesy. It’s not pushy, or aggressive, or in-your-face. But, pound for pound, content marketing delivers like no other. Content marketing is a long time game. It’s not based on clicks or conversions, per se. Use it to engage, connect, and build relationships that you can leverage into sales and revenue down the road.
When it comes to business this year, just getting known is more than half the battle. And because the ad is the content itself, blockers won’t block, filters won’t filter, and your audience is being advertised to without realizing it.
They’ll get something valuable from you, and in return, you’ll get to deliver your message to them. If you market online at all, content marketing should be a cornerstone of your strategy whether you’re concerned about ad-blockers or not.
6. Google Advertising
Generally speaking, it’s no secret just how much companies like Google, Facebook, and other big media players depend on ad revenues. In 2019 alone, advertising generated close to 90% of Google’s total revenue. While Facebook makes 84% of its ad revenue from mobile. What am I trying to say?
That when you’re talking billions, even a small dent can make giants sit up and take notice. And as such, one doesn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to see a definitive pattern in all the recent moves from the big players. We’ve even seen the IAB putting out its acronym-rich strategy. In an attempt to slow an outbreak of mobile ad blocking by decreasing the demand for it.
More often, I’ve seen Google trying to push its “contributor” service all too well. Along with other moves that seem to telegraph a reaction to adblocking. Such as its mobile-first algorithm, new changes to its “First Click Free” rules, and Accelerated Mobile Pages.
As well as making sponsored ads labeling less distinguishable from organic results while also integrating a “ Chrome ad blocking” feature. You too should add Google Advertising to your list of marketing tools for web marketers. And then wait to see how you’ll get more customers.
7. Out of the Box
Apart from the above-mentioned tools, there are many other notable marketing tools for web marketers out there. All you need to do is look and explore in the right places. The best thing is that you now have a good starting point. You can try and utilize some of the tools mentioned above to see if it works for you.
I could go on in great detail about other methods to slay the ad-blocker beast, but I’m sure what we’ve already covered is more than enough for now. Suffice to say, there are other channels to explore too. And as such, consider the following as your next inline tools too.
Let’s consider email marketing for instance. It’s still one of the most powerful tools to connect, engage, educate, and nurture leads and customers. What about interactive ads too? These are a fun way to engage with your fans, leads, and customers. Give them something enjoyable and active to do while delivering your message.
By doing so, the likelihood of getting blocked goes down exponentially. You should also adapt to the growing use of mobile devices. Smartphones are ubiquitous. Start delivering content – and ads – on the platform your audience uses every day. You need to create mobile ads that target engagement and conversions if you want to succeed.
In addition to that, 360-degree video, augmented reality, virtual reality, and clickable maps are just a few examples of what you can do and use.
Before I conclude, you’re doing it wrong if you’re only pushing your marketing ads the traditional ways – from popups, banners, sidebars, etc. You need to know and understand that online digital advertising is quickly changing and evolving each day.
The first thing is to understand why people are adblocking to better understand how to win them back. Ideally, it isn’t just about sneaking past the adblockers anymore. But rather, it’s time to make them unnecessary. People are using them because of performance.
Some studies even suggest that ad-blockers can save 24 hours annually by making sites load faster – privacy and security concerns. So, keep that in mind when designing and launching your ad campaigns. And don’t forget that they don’t like repetitive display ads.
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They also don’t like retargeting ads that follow them around or even popups, before-content ads, and banners. It’s also important to make sure that your ads are not obnoxious ones. By paying attention to what they hate, and then creating accordingly.
Finally, how have you adapted to the ad-blocking age? What methods have you used to get your message across? Please, feel free to share some of your thoughts any other questions in our comments section.
You can also Contact Us if you’ll need more support. But above all, keep looking, and you’ll find plenty of additional tips, tricks, and channels to beat the blockers.
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