A polarization of opinions can be found in the online world between content producers and content consumers, a correlation well illustrated by the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
Content producers assume the role of Papa Bear (everything too much), and content consumers are represented by Mama Bear (everything too little). To bring the two sides together, online marketers must assume the crucial role of Baby Bear (everything just right) through properly executed advertising campaigns. Those who execute their strategy in a manner that most pleases the online world stand to gain immensely.
A recent report co-researched by Adobe and PageFair, titled “Adblocking Goes Mainstream,” looked at the rise of online adblocking browser plug-ins. In our research, we surveyed 1,600-plus online consumers and analyzed 4.99 billion global adblock Web site hits. Our study found that adblocking is a trend moving from the fringe of obscurity toward mainstream adaptation. The number of monthly active adblock users more than doubled in 2013, up 117%. In Q2 2014, 4.9% of all global Internet users had enabled an adblocking plug-in.
Ironically, the impressive growth of adblocking software can be attributed to the popularity of the end user’s installed Web browser, Google Chrome, which generates a large part of its revenue from online advertising. In late 2013, Chrome surpassed Internet Explorer as the primary Web browser used by consumers (source: “ADI Report: Google Controls The Browser Worldwide”). Coupled with the growth of Chrome, the tech-savvy nature of Chrome users, and the ease with which adblocking plug-ins can be installed on the Chrome browser, monthly Chrome adblock plug-in users went up from 44 million in Q2 ’13 to 86 million in Q2 ’14, a 96% increase.
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With adblocking now comprising 4.9% of all global Internet traffic--and as high as 21% to 29% in some European countries--producers must figure out a way to either get consumers to pay for content or get those consumers to view ads that support non-pay content.
Now here’s the rub: While content producers expect to be compensated, it is difficult to attract consumers to content if they are forced to pay for it. This creates a dilemma that has been typically solved through advertising, an age-old solution that provides “free” content to consumers by giving it away with strings attached. But now adblocking is cutting those strings, and it is up to marketers to find the sweet spot between these polar opposites. In our study, we asked 1,600 participants about their willingness to receive advertisements packaged with the content they consume. Sixty-one percent of respondents stated they were completely unwilling to receive such advertisements, yet only 20% of respondents stated they would be willing to pay some sort of fee for an ad-free experience.
When asked about specific types of ads, consumers said they were more willing to view some ads over others. When browsing regular Web content, two-thirds of respondents said they were at least slightly willing to view text display ads and still image ads. Meanwhile, when consuming online videos, two-thirds of respondents said they were slightly willing to see skippable pre-roll ads, and almost half were at least slightly willing to view skippable mid-roll ads.
Armed with this information, marketers can fill the proverbial shoes of Baby Bear by developing successful ad campaigns for producers that are viewed as neither intrusive nor annoying by consumers. These campaigns must involve such tactics as improving ad targeting, increasing the variability of ad content, and diversification across ad forms. If consumers are satisfied with the types of ads they are being presented with, marketers will be able to come up with the “just right” solution to this online digital dichotomy.