By Mike Wolfe
Well … they’re at it again. Google’s visionary product roadmap is once again affecting the way we experience the web. For those that haven’t heard, on June 1, Google officially announced plans for an ad blocker, native to Chrome, that will filter out intrusive and annoying ads. This move not only will change the experience for many web users, but also will likely have a monumental impact on digital marketing and advertising strategies deployed by companies of all sizes.
Here’s a rundown on what’s going on and how it will impact inbound marketers:
So, What’s Happening?
On June 1, Google made the announcement in a blog post titled Building a better web for everyone. In the announcement, Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, explained why Google wants to take control of the ad experience in the browser of choice for nearly half of all U.S. web users:
“... It’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web—like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page. These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads—taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.”
Related Read: Build an Inbound Marketing Campaign That Works
To be clear, Google is not blocking or filtering out all ads, just those that are deemed low quality by the Coalition for Better Ads Standards. The types of ads specifically mentioned as ones to be blocked, or “filtered” as Google puts it, are countdowns that make you wait 10 seconds before viewing the site, auto-players with sound, those that open in a new window, and those that add clutter or slow down page loading times—thank goodness!
Aside from having a poor Wi-Fi connection, is there anything more annoying on the web than intrusive, unwanted ads that prevent you from the content you actually want to read? Many studies out there suggest that there isn’t. The Coalition for Better Ads found that 50 percent of users surveyed said they would not revisit or recommend a page that had a pop-up ad. SurveyMonkey even found that the biggest reason users would block a website from their search results was if the website contained too many ads. One might wonder if pop-up ads are even effective at all?
If that’s you, consider reading Do Pop-up Ads Actually Work? Here’s the Data You Need.
Plain and simple: Most web users don’t want intrusive ads. And they’ll be happy to know that the ad blocker will start filtering intrusive ads in the new version of Chrome as early as 2018.
How Does This Impact Inbound Marketers?
First, it underscores the importance of having a well-planned inbound marketing strategy, which means knowing your personas and being able to provide them with the type of content they are seeking out: educational, interesting, and insightful e-books, whitepapers, and articles that address real problems for the user. This content builds an organic following that you can nurture over time, instead of pouncing on prospects with disruptive ads every chance you get. A solid inbound marketing strategy is ad blocker-proof because you are providing your audience with information they are actually looking for. It’s not annoying—it’s helpful.
Second, marketers will need to be on top of the Coalition for Better Ads Standards’ criteria to avoid having their ads blocked. When in doubt, put yourself in your personas’ shoes and go through your site. Do your ads interrupt their experience? Are your ads distracting, or are they helpful in guiding personas to the next logical step in the Buyer’s Journey? Marketers who pay close attention to the overall user experience and how ads play into that experience will have a better pulse on the type of ads they can place and when.
Finally, Google’s decision will lead to more marketers shifting away from the “in your face” advertising to non-intrusive, user-friendly marketing campaigns, because intrusive ad tactics will have a smaller reach and be much less effective. Should more marketers take this approach, this could mean that organic search will get even more competitive than it already is. Marketers who want to stay one step ahead of competition will really need to plan and execute their inbound marketing strategies well to get in front of their audience.
How do you feel about Google’s ad blocker plans? Do you see it having a big impact on your inbound marketing strategy?