Ad-blocking and the impact on your brand

The already widespread and growing popularity of ad-blockers is one of the trends we’re predicting will shift how brands are engaged with across 2016.

It’s a trend many in the industry have outlined. Ogilvy noted in their Key Digital Trends report a jump of 44% in ad-blocker use between 2014 and 2015, followed by a surge in ad-blocking app downloads in the latter part of last year, as Apple moved to support users restricting their exposure to digital advertising.

The report also outlined how Apple and Facebook have developed content aggregation platforms with a notably minimal approach to advertising. This re-focusing of attention on the user experience has serious consequences for marketers currently using digital advertising to drive brand awareness and remarket their products, and the trend is gathering such pace that Ogilvy predicts it will ‘soon reach levels that severely disrupt publishers’ existing advertising revenue models’.

Driven by a growing consumer desire for control, further made up of a desire for privacy and a quicker, more efficient browsing experience, the ad-blocking trend’s implications at a tactical level are clear. But there are notable considerations at brand level too.

The implications of ad-blocking on your brand

With traditional advertising routes increasingly under threat, marketers need to evaluate the consequences and assess how the impact can be mitigated.
This trend alone indicates a shift in the power balance between paid and earned media. As paid media opportunities become tightly controlled, brands may seek to invest more of their efforts into gaining profile through earned media.

Focusing on building coverage through PR, social engagement, word-of-mouth and through blogs and forums can be valuable, but it of course follows that, in doing so, brands must be prepared to give up a level of control over what they previously had with owned and paid media. They become reliant on those audiences outside of the organisation to be the storytellers of their brand, and to be telling the right ‘story’.

Having a concise story that audiences can a) understand quickly and b) connect with is more crucial than ever. And note that we’re talking about the entire experience here, not brand identity: in the realms of earned media, the visual brand plays only a supporting role to the brand proposition’s lead. The ethos must be so present and consistent at every point of a brand experience that a consumer – whether a customer or influencer – rapidly gains an accurate understanding of the brand, and can easily translate their fantastic experience to others.

As the visual brand moves into the background, elements such as internal culture and brand voice come to the fore, placing emphasis on ensuring internal teams are engaged and equipped to deliver a consistent experience. As brand owners, we can never fully determine exactly how our audiences will retell that story, but by investing in growing a believable brand internally, delivering a consistent experience externally, we can create parameters to shape and guide it.

At Mobas, we are skilled at helping organisations across a variety of industries discover, review and refine their brands. If you’d like to find out more, drop us a line at say.hello@mobas.com

Trend source: Ogilvy Key Digital Trends for 2016.

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