Ad blockers are now being used by over 198m users. Millennials are the most prevalent users with 41 per cent of 18-29 year olds using ad blocking technologies. In the matter of months, ad blocking has turned from a marginally disturbing trend for ad-supported business models to a full-blown disaster that’s edging of the verge of going mainstream.
In order for an ad supported business model to thrive; consumers, brands, and publishers must have a symbiotic relationship.
- Publishers need audiences to monetise.
- Brands need access to publisher’s audiences in order to reach them through advertising.
- Consumers need valuable content, which is free when funded by ad revenue.
Native advertising can produce a mutual solution for all three parties. Though native may not be a simple turnkey solution to ad blocking or the diminishing display ad business, it’s the most viable way forward for all stakeholders. If done smartly, native can scale and forge a genuine win-win-win for the advertiser, the publisher, and most importantly, the audience.
Here are seven things publishers and brands need to embrace in the face of ad blocking.
1. In-App Publishing Will Win On Mobile
Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover and Apple News. These apps represent the new movement of publishing custom content (not just links) inside the walled gardens of mobile platforms. In-app publishing is important for two big reasons: Ad blockers cannot currently penetrate apps, and the content is highly native to mobile and optimised for the best user experience.
The demand for these offerings will increase as more users move more towards mobile. In-app publishing marks all the golden boxes; mobile, native, and ad block-free. If publishers and social platforms can strike a balance between mutual monetisation and user experience, in-app will deliver enormous value to advertisers and publishers through large engaged audiences and premium ad rates.
The Takeaway: Yes, this could signify a risky transfer of power to social platforms, but brands and publishers have to be willing to let go of control of owning the destination. The reality is that we live in post-destination web where you must meet the audience we they live, not the address of your choosing.
2. Creating Billion Dollar Media Businesses on the Back of Native Advertising
Publishers such as BuzzFeed, Vox and Mic have doubled down on native from the onset of their existence. Logically, modern publishers are not as worried about ad blocking as established players that mainly rely on display ad revenue. These publishers have grown thriving businesses by serving native ads that pay off their advertiser’s goals and actually provide value to their readers and brand.
Innovative publishers believe “advertising” is not merely relegated the right side of a website. Instead, advertising is more cohesive to their experience and can be as compelling as their editorial. Case in point; BuzzFeed and Purina’s Dear Kitten video generated over 23.6m views and is one of the most viewed BuzzFeed videos despite being a “native ad.”
The Takeaway: Native-first publishers have a gold mine of insights that the ad industry can adapt and scale. Perhaps the most critical learning they can offer is how Millennials, their core audience, view and react to advertising. Let’s not forget those “kids” will soon take over as the primary purchasers of goods.
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