By Adam Fraser
On the web, pop-ups and the other hyper intrusive methods are adversely impacting the customer experience. The effectiveness of banner ads is declining to levels of almost statistical insignificance.
Then came growth in ad blockers at the consumer level. Apple added an ad blocking app to its offering and made it easier to embed within IoS. Statistics vary but some studies show levels of up to 25% of smartphone users now having ad blockers. Other estimates show 200m global users of ad blocking technology.
This is all of huge concern to both media platforms and advertisers alike. Now ad blocking at the carrier level has become a reality – perhaps an even more worrying turn of events for advertising. Three became the first carrier to introduce ad blocking at the network level across its UK and Italian networks with plans to roll this out globally.
Throwing salt into the wounds for advertisers Three UK chief marketing officer Tom Malleschitz said “Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience,”
Malleschitz said that the company has three core reasons for introducing the technology:
- Customers shouldn’t have to pay data charges to receive ads they don’t necessarily want
- Some advertising aims to elicit customer data and information without them knowing.
- Customers should only receive relevant advertising and not have their mobile experience “degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant ads”
We have all become accustomed to free content on the internet. But someone has to pay for independent journalism, and as the ad model slowly disintegrates it is not completely clear what this model will be (a topic I recently discussed in depth with leading thinker Bob Garfield).
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) said blocking ads could lead to consumers “having to pay for content they currently get for free”. In the coding game of cat and mouse, many publishers are now trying to block users who have ad blocking software installed.
The social networks can breathe easy for now as current technology does not block native ads embedded in the steams of Facebook and Twitter.
The interruptive experience that is advertising is being rejected on mass by consumers. Content marketing, native advertising, influencer marketing, sponsored content, community building, customer experience and product placement are being touted as the antidotes. It’s not 100% clear where we are heading and what the consequences will be, but consumers are delivering a clear message about how they feel about advertising today and the industry needs to lift its game or continue its long term decline towards irrelevancy.