Digital ads? No thank you...
As a digital marketer I know how effective digital ads can be for brands. For example, it's very easy to upload your customers’ email addresses to Facebook and create ads just for them. It's exciting for marketers as it increases ROI and engagement. It's also cheap to set up. There are many ways of using customer data across the web to increase revenue.
However there's a clear tension between what customers and advertisers want. For customers, ads can be intrusive and frankly, a bit much. Many times I've visited a shopping site to find that the products I viewed follow me around the web for quite some time afterwards.
A recent eMarketer report confirms consumers are very concerned about digital privacy. And advertisers are viewed as the least trustworthy users of consumer data. In January 2016, 55% of smartphone users in the UK and US stated that advertisers should be allowed to collect no data about them whatsoever. A further 26% thought only limited amounts was ok.
But sites like Facebook and Twitter need advertising as an important source of revenue. And for marketers to happily play (and spend) in this digital space they need to build customer profiles - and that needs data. The culture secretary, John Whittingdale, has described ad blocking as “a modern-day protection racket”, and promises round-table discussions on the issue. “If people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist.”
Which brings me on to ad blocking. Currently one fifth of UK internet users use ad blocking software, most of which are on desktops (rather than tablets or mobiles). By next year eMarketer expects it to increase to 27%.To give it context, this figure was 10% in 2014 and it’s steadily climbing.
A recent KPMG report found that 44% of UK adults aged 16-24 are planning to block ads within the next six months. Their reasons for doing so were because they don’t like adverts, they took up too much room on the page or the adverts they were being shown were irrelevant.