Is Adblocking bad for business?

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As an advertiser, you will be concerned about anything that potentially reduces the effectiveness of your campaigns.  Hence the importance that is being placed upon the issue of online adblocking.

I would caution you to step back and take the long view on this. Any marketer has always had to accept the inherent wastefulness of their activity, especially in the case of B2B marketing. Consider how few trade publication advertisements are ever read, let alone acted upon. I suggest that if you still use them, they are only ever a means by which to obtain ‘editorial’ coverage, which itself is often recognised by buyers as paid-for and thus untrustworthy.

Digital is taking over as the default medium for B2B activity precisely because it is targeted and because it allows the potential purchaser to ‘discover’ you for himself/herself and to do their own online research (where of course you have seeded rich content about yourself and your brand).

Display advertising and remarketing do play an important role within the social media marketing mix; and depending on your business, you may favour LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or Facebook, or a combination of these and other emerging platforms.

As a digital practitioner with a lot of B2B clients, I recognise the immense market that Facebook provides, whilst cautioning that it is a personal network and it is not always suited to technical business promotion. But it is incumbent on us at Hannon Digital to be providing advice on the latest issues, one of which is a spat between Facebook and a much-used provider of adblocking software.

Facebook has for some time made adblocking ineffective on its growing mobile platform, but not in its traditional desktop environment, which may now be in the minority but still accounts for 26 million unique users in the UK.Obviously, Facebook (like any advertising medium) needs to pay the rent. On 9th August it pulled the plug on desktop adblocking.

But supplier AdBlock Plus announced shortly afterwards that it had responded with an update that re-established blocking. Then there was a set of skirmishes where both sets of programmers fought to outdo each other.

Technically, Facebook has the trump card. Unlike most sites, where ads carry an identifiable code that sits apart from the core platform, Facebook embeds all its material internally – hence AdBlock Plus began to upset its users by mistakenly blocking users’ personal feeds.

Although I do not always recommend Facebook, it is undeniably one of the world’s biggest advertising audiences – and in cases where it is appropriate to use it (such as for the rising Millennial buyer market) I recognise that Facebook has done more than most providers to integrate ads into the user experience and not to upset its members, who can opt out of specific types of ad and avoid being categorised in certain audience categories.

The fact that it is likely to remain immune to adblocking is therefore a cause for celebration among advertisers. This is not to say that you should ever indulge in misplaced or overly intrusive campaigns.  You must be responsive, not aggressive, otherwise you are in danger of becoming the sort of advertiser that adblocker users (who are most often the younger, more technically aware buyers) want to eliminate.

For an end-to-end B2B digital marketing service including social media management, explainer videos, infographics, callback and more, let’s talk.

Colm Hannon is founder and CEO, Hannon Digital