There is no lack of controversy and discussion over ad blocking and programmatic advertising in our industry these days. I believe that most would agree that programmatic is the wave of the future, the way that all ads will be bought one day. It delivers a data generated target and, in general, produces better conversion rates more efficiently and economically. But what effect will ad blockers have on the success and future of programmatic? That is the million dollar question.
A big part of the answer to that question depends on what happens with ad blockers in the future. It’s becoming an industry in itself. Ad blockers are a good thing for many users but a bad thing for advertisers. While previously only available on desk tops, now Apple’s new operating system offers the ability to block ads, so that is a new concern for advertisers, since mobile is moving to the forefront. The estimates of revenues being lost due to ad blockers is in the billions, so it is a significant issue. The problem is that ad blockers don’t just block the really obnoxious and intrusive ads, they tend to block everything. This dilemma puts advertisers in the position of coming up with creative new ideas about how to get in front of potential customers. For consumers today, it is all about the experience. That has to be the driving force in campaign concept design going forward. Even better than that is the answer given to Sears by distinguished ad executive Barry Krause when Sears wanted to upgrade the image of Kenmore, one of their major brands, and get closer to the customer. Krauses’ response to Sears was “Show up live.” The resulting campaign was a series of live streaming shows that spotlighted Sears’ products in a variety of interesting settings, from cooking shows to bridal showers, with accompanying star power from the actors. His point was: “Advertising today is not about interrupting what people are interested in; it’s about being what people are interested in.” It’s all about creating the experience and inviting them in.