Stumbling Blocks Hit Online Advertising
According to a study published by Adobe and the software company PageFair, ad block usage in the United States grew by 41% during the past year, increasing to 45 million monthly active users during the second quarter of this year.
With blocked ads causing an estimated $21.8 billion global revenue loss in this year, some industry professionals are beginning to pay close attention.
John Cullens, CEO and Founder of Apartmentcareers.com says his company depends on online advertising and he is concerned by the recent numbers however, he has no immediate plans to change his marketing strategy.
“We are fortunate that most of our online advertising is pay for performance related. 90% of our advertising budget is related to our distribution of job ads to a number of different job aggregators as opposed to display or banner ads that are subject to being blocked,” Cullens said. “A bigger issue for us would be the drop in revenue we receive for display advertising on our website.”
On the property management side of the industry, professionals were echoing Cullens in that they are concerned but taking a wait and see approach before changing their strategy.
Ian Mattingly, President of Dallas-based LumaCorp, says that his company relies on a combination of traditional Internet Listing Service advertising and pay-per-click campaigns to advertise their communities.
“I am not worried about ad blocking in the near term, as the ILS advertising firms have a lot of incentive (and all the resources) to overcome the challenge. Those who don’t will fall by the wayside, as so many have in the past,” Mattingly says. “However, if this results in further consolidation in the ILS space and consequent rate increases, we may be forced to reevaluate the balance of paid search and ILS spend.”
National Marketing Manager for Lincoln Property Company, Lauren Gummelt, says she “rejoices” at the rise of ad blocking, in part because pop-up ads are disruptive to the Internet experience.
“Our communities and company advertises online, but it is aimed at a targeted audience,” she says. “Using services such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) ensure that the prospective renter takes the first step in developing a relationship with us online. We are simply capitalizing on the keywords they are using and the way they search for apartment homes.”
In addition to SEO and SEM, Lincoln Property Company is increasing its focus on social media advertising and resident referrals through campaigns encouraging people to share their living experience at a Lincoln property.
Regardless of which marketing tactics the industry gravitates to next, it’s important to build trust with your customer base. Many survey respondents who admit to ad blocking cite a fear of misuse of personal information as one of the primary reasons for doing so.
A recent article from AdAge suggests four steps to take to build trust:
1. Build your site so that users can access what they need.
Users should feel like they’re nearing their goal with every click. If this isn’t the case with your website, consider changing your information architecture.
2. Let the user decide what personal information to share (and how much of it)
Marketers are more likely to be successful if they think of this as a barter exchange. Allow visitors to determine how much personal data they’re willing to share in exchange for the information they’re expecting to receive.
3. Be clear about what content is personalized.
Amazon is a master at personalized content, with 30% of its revenue being attributed to personal recommendations. Before following Amazon’s lead, be clear with consumers about what content is tailored for them.
4. Allow the user to opt-out of a value exchange at any point.
If a user doesn’t have the option to opt-out of certain content, they may opt-out of your entire brand.