Have you been considering a switch from traditional media to only using online advertising? If so, you may want to re-think that digital-only strategy.
As the amount of advertising dollars predicted to be spent on online advertising in the future continues to grow, something else is on the rise: Ad Blockers. Online ad blockers are used by an estimated 70 million Americans (that’s 1 out of 4 people), and 45% of people who do not currently use ad blockers say they would be willing to install them. Ad blocking has been responsible for a loss of nearly 16 million advertising dollars in 2016. And with ad blocking forecasted to grow by double digits within the next couple of years, that lost revenue will only increase.
So with this obvious dislike for today’s online advertising, why do companies still insist on sinking so much of their money into them over more traditional methods? Perhaps they fail to realize the reasons for people’s aversion to online advertising, and how a complete abandonment of traditional advertising can be detrimental to an ad campaign’s success.
Online Advertising is More Disruptive Than Traditional Media
Studies show the majority of online users are tired of the constant inundation of online ads, and find most of them to be annoying and disruptive. In a recent survey of over a thousand people in Europe and the US, 91% reported they felt online advertising is more intrusive now than several years ago, and 87% felt there are more ads online today than ever before. It’s not surprising they feel this way, when so much of their browsing experience involves dealing with pop-up ads that are almost impossible to close, video ads set to automatically play as soon as a page is opened, and banner ads that constantly expand over a website. All this can interrupt the flow of online browsing, and become very irritating to the user.
“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “Aren’t people just as bothered by traditional advertising like TV commercials?” Actually, no. In the aforementioned survey, 73% said they found online pop-up ads to be annoying, compared to just 36% who felt the same way about television ads. Why such a big difference? Unlike television ads, online ads tend to appear literally in the middle of the content a person is actually interested in and focused on. Imagine if you were watching a TV show, and suddenly an ad for a local pizza place appeared on the screen, right over the doctor as he’s about to start that tricky surgery. Suddenly you’re scrambling to find some button on your remote control to turn the ad off. Annoying, right? But real television ads are presented in a way that makes them far less aggravating than online ads, so people are less likely to automatically dismiss them.
Online Advertising is More Easily Forgotten Than Traditional Media
Another disadvantage to only using online ads is online advertising simply does not have the same impact as traditional ads, due to people’s receptivity (or lack thereof). Interactions with ads offline are conducted when people’s brains are “idling”, and looking to be engaged by stimuli such as television programs or magazine articles. Brains in this idle state are more receptive to input, and are more likely to connect with something positive or intriguing. People are already ready to be entertained (most likely not knowing what to expect), so they are primed to receive subtle chunks of advertising content. And since they are more open to them, it makes it easier for advertisers to get results with a call-to-action, like calling a memorable vanity phone number. But when searching for information online, most people already have a specific task in mind, and they tend to filter out and become blind to anything not relevant to their main purpose. In fact, 60% of online users have developed “banner blindness”, and can’t even remember the ads they do see.
Another reason is current online ads are noticed less is they tend not to be as compelling or interesting as traditional advertising; they simply do not connect with people. Unlike online advertising, traditional advertising makes better use of features like rich visuals and storytelling – features that appeal to people not only on a sensory level, but an emotional level, as well. People are more drawn in to warm and vibrant traditional advertising than they are to the often cold and sterile feel of online advertising.
Studies show the most successful ad campaigns are the ones that use a combination of both online and traditional media, thus demonstrating that most people do not feel online advertising should be done away with, altogether. Rather, they simply want advertising that is less intrusive and more interesting. By utilizing the proven value of traditional marketing and finding ways to make online marketing more effective, advertisers can make their campaigns true winners.
PageFair and Adobe 2015 Ad Blocking Report
Omnicom Media Group
The Eclipse of Online Ads by Rebecca Lieb and ScribbleLive