Adblocker sales thrive on the unexpected

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Unexpected ad pop-ups & video pop-ups are in the sights of Ryan Bonnici, the Sydney-based APAC marketing director of HubSpot – a global inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Bonnici took part in a Q+A session with M+AD … 

What findings did HubSpot’s latest report, ‘Effectiveness of Advertising in APAC’, reveal?
Our latest research paper indicates that traditional advertising techniques aren’t as effective as previously thought by the industry, with the current methods being used by advertisers in New Zealand and other markets in the APAC region creating negative experiences for today’s audiences.

Ultimately, we discovered that interruptive ads are driving an increase in download rates for ad blocker tools, indicating that advertisers need to be smart if they wish to reach their target audiences, or risk going unnoticed.

Were there insights that surprised you or were unique to APAC?
We discovered that ads get a lot of attention, but consumers in Asia Pacific feel negatively towards telemarketing calls (66%); pop-ups (51%); and auto playing videos (40%).

Just getting noticed is not always desirable
In today’s advertising industry, simply getting noticed isn’t enough – if brands are creating negative impressions for their audiences, this can mean a tarnished brand identity, doing greater damage in the long term than a missed sale.

Marketers need to stop thinking about short term sales, and start thinking about the lifetime value of their customers. An interruptive ad campaign may generate revenue now, but if it alienates more people than find it engages with (which, our stats show is the case), companies will find they will have substantially decreased revenue in the coming months/years.

Why did HubSpot commission this research?
We wanted to investigate how marketers should engage consumers with ads in the future and uncover how legacy techniques of audience engagement are damaging consumer relationships.

We know that today, brand control is absolutely in the hands of the consumer – they are more frequently unsubscribing from emails, skipping commercials, screening telemarketing calls, and most troubling to the ad industry as it moves to embrace all things digital, blocking online ads.

The future is Native
It was important to identify that methods of consumer engagement, like native advertising and email marketing, represent the future of advertising, indicating that the creation of brilliant inbound content that attracts them to your site/product/service organically (vs. interrupting them with an ad) is key to enhancing customer experience.

Adblocking was called out as a key issue in APAC. What are your thoughts on adblockers and how should advertisers combat the rise of this software?
Let’s face it, nobody wakes up and thinks, “I can’t wait to click on an ad”. So why do marketers wake up and think, “I can’t wait to make an ad?”

Often, unexpected ads interrupt our online experiences and get in the way of us working, communicating with friends or catching that must-se’ documentary. Millennials have the highest adoption rate of adblocker software, with Adblocker Plus – the world’s most popular adblocker app – reaching 300 million downloads worldwide.

This represents huge implications for online ads reaching consumers. Considering modern methods of data-consumption through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s no surprise that native ads are creating neutral experiences for consumers. If executed correctly, these native posts are hard to distinguish from standard posts on the respective platforms.

How can marketers in New Zealand remain effective at advertising?
Marketers who want to connect with potential customers – or maintain existing relationships with loyal customers – need to get smart about their digital adspend, supplementing and enhancing the online experience, not interrupting it.

Advertisers in New Zealand need to appreciate that less can be more from an advertising perspective. For instance, 77% of respondents who contributed to our research revealed they would unsubscribe from a brand’s distribution list if they were sent too many messages.

Crucially, it’s vital to remember that invasive advertising techniques have the potential to lower consumer opinion of a brand, with 75% of our respondents confirming telemarketing calls would damage their perspective of an organisation.

Adblockers work!
What are the opportunities and challenges facing the ad industry in the coming years?
Given that ad blocker tools have been available on Android and iOS for some time, we feel access to audiences has been significantly reduced, driving the need for new ways for brands to meaningfully engage with target audiences.

Earlier this year, Apple announced iOS 9 will allow ads to be blocked on Safari and across apps. With 20% of all web browsing occurring within Safari, this represents a huge market share now inaccessible to advertisers.

On sites such as Buzzfeed, we’re seeing examples of native advertising in action, with brands generating their own useful, insightful content to drive positive dialogues between brands and consumers.

Looking to the retail sector, a good example of inbound content generating a call to action includes the likes of Mr. Porter, encouraging consumers to visit the site in order to gain a new perspective on a current trend, while also highlighting the great products on offer.

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