Some 144 million users used an ad-blocking service in 2014, and that number is poised to shoot upward, according to research from Adobe and PageFair. Ad block users jumped by 70 percent from June 2013 to June 2014, the data revealed. Among younger users, the story is even more dramatic: 41 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 aren’t seeing ads like banners, videos, or pop-ups at all because of ad block services.
If enough users turn on ad blocking software, brands will have to seriously rethink how they are engaging with potential consumers. One potential avenue to earn eyeballs without ads lies in savvy content marketing. At its best, content gives users something they’re looking for, whether by answering burning questions, entertaining, or even teaching something new.
Indeed, the majority of ad block users don’t reject advertising outright, Adobe and PageFair found, they simply want ads delivered in a less intrusive way.
Native content and sponsored content provide a viable alternative for marketers. Easily shareable and almost identical to unpaid content, native content has proven to earn better results than traditional display ads. It’s no wonder the sector is growing rapidly, as the Content Standard previously reported.
Some brands have taken the concept to the next level and created their own in-house media companies to churn out content and woo consumers. Starbucks is joining the fray with a new media company focused on social-impact content; Marriott International created a global content studio to share content across film, television, digital, and print platforms; and quintessential content provider Red Bull has established its own Media House.
The use of branded content has big advantages. This content type isn’t targeted by ad blocking services, and, when done right, it can help brands reap the rewards of a more engaged fan base and soaring brand loyalty.
For ideas on how to build your brand’s content strategy, check out Skyword’s eBook, “Getting Started with Content Marketing.”