But as it turns out, the update isn’t all bad. Below, 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) explain strategies they have used to get around it as well as what new opportunities it has opened doors to.
1. Boost social posts
A boosted post on Facebook or Twitter shows up in the news feed like a post from a contact, attracting more attention than traditional advertising and bypassing ad blocks. Boosted posts also have a variety of audience targets you can apply, so you’re reaching your ideal customers.
3. Change behaviour and user experience
Entrepreneurs should consider user behaviour and the context in which users experience their brand message. Mobile ads are typically relegated to the top or bottom in minuscule spaces. These are practically useless, and more of an annoyance than anything else. Consider more valuable advertising tools that provide more utility for users and are in places they frequent with their mobile device. Social media is extremely effective for mobile, search, industry listing sites or review sites (RetailMeNot is an easy example for retail, but find what exists for your industry), geo-loyalty apps (Loyalty Blocks), email and of course SMS. Combine these tools, and you’ll get a killer mobile strategy.
– Jarrett McCraw, Mighty
5. Use video streaming
With the rise of Snapchat and Instagram video, these 15-second clips can be manipulated, edited and produced in many creative ways to gain brand awareness and authority. With automatic ad blocking, business owners should rely heavily on filters to assure time well spent.
– Sheldon Michael, Netjumps International
7. Use contextual marketing
Consumers are more interested in stories that reveal the benefits of products than pop-ups and flashing ads. Those distracting and annoying advertising techniques run the risk of alienating potential consumers. Instead, contextual marketing cultivates interest in a product by providing a narrative about the product. Consumers click on the story because they are interested in its content, and they become invested in the product through those specific examples. Contextual marketing allows consumers to feel as if they are in control of their marketing by using their curious and natural tendency toward stories. Also, contextual marketing is considered content marketing, so it isn’t blocked.
– Ty Morse, Songwhale
9. Use affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a massive multi-billion industry that is often overlooked when it comes to monetizing mobile. However, affiliate networks like eBay Enterprises and Commission Junction offer access to thousands of advertisers that will pay you on a performance basis to send them leads and orders. You’ll have the options of integrating product feeds (like eBay’s Storebuilder Technology), text links, rich media, widgets and much more. The nice thing about affiliate marketing is that you get paid for performance. In other words, instead of getting paid on impressions, you’ll get paid potentially even more to refer business. For instance, if you refer a sale to most e-commerce companies, you can make 10% or more of the entire transaction.
11. Target customers with social advertising
Catch your audience in a much more targeted way on social networks — they’re heavily using these apps all day long. Run your ad campaigns on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use each network for what its strengths are. For instance, use Twitter for being top-of-mind in a particular conversation or trending topic, or use Facebook’s plethora of interest and behavioural targeting tools to reach your customers right down to the exact iOS version they’re using. With Pay per Click (PPC), Cost per Mille (CPM), or Pay per Conversion models, you can go as big or as small as you want.
2. Create great content
Today’s average viewer has been inundated with ads for much of their life, to the point where they scroll past ads and don’t even notice them. This isn’t new, and auto ad blocking is an answer to their issue. This means that entrepreneurs need to get creative in their content creation. Get your viewers to watch an ad without them even realizing or caring it’s an ad. The best Super Bowl commercials are shared because they connect to the viewers in a “tug at your heartstrings” or humorous way, and they keep getting shared on social media. This opens the opportunity to get creative with content — no more flashing ads to the side of the page, and you can let social media do most of the distribution for you.
4. Focus on relationship building via social media
Rather than sitting back and waiting for ads or posts to garner clicks, reach out and build relationships with potential customers on social media. If you can’t afford to hire a dedicated social media manager, encourage the entire team to act as administrators of the company social media account, to “like” posts and images and leave friendly or useful comments. Every “like” or comment acts as a hyperlink back to your social media account. All of these efforts can be further boosted with a little ad spend added to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
6. Provide value through connection
Entrepreneurs should strive to provide value through connection. One way to make money from mobile is through affiliate revenue. Look at an app like Shazam: It gives you what you want (a song title) and a click-through link to that song on a third party site, providing a valuable service without making you think about money or see an irrelevant ad.
8. Look to native advertising
Even before ad blocking, disruptive mobile banner ads didn’t produce anything other than errant clicks from fat fingers, resulting in frustrated users. Ad blocking could in fact end up saving unsophisticated marketers some money from unqualified mobile traffic. So what should brands do about it? Brands looking to reach mobile users need to re-think their old strategy of “running their desktop ads on mobile” and get on board with native advertising and content marketing designed for mobile consumption. Successful marketers in the mobile space need to focus on providing highly targeted and highly valuable content. Also make sure to have cross-device retargeting implemented so you can close the loop on converting mobile visitors through other channels.
10. Integrate with mobile publishers
A short-term advertising solution could include an effort to more closely integrate with mobile publishers; however these executions aren’t highly scalable. Unfortunately, there aren’t effective ways to combat ad blocking on iOS or any mobile OS. The reality is that marketers have very little control over ad blocking online. It will largely be up to the publishing community to ally and fight ad blocking strategically. And given the choice of paying for content or viewing ads, most consumers would choose the latter. I think we’ll see more of this testing by major publishers and an eventual wider restriction of free content from users employing ad blocking software.