Unruly’s Lance Traore on avoiding the ‘Adblockalypse’

With the rise of social and always-on connectivity, consumers are bombarded by a flood of constant updates and brands are competing with friends and family for a share of precious mindspace.

Marketers must evolve their advertising if they want to reconnect with consumers, especially as trust in brands reaches an all time low and ad-blocking usage reaches an all time high.  

Because Unruly genuinely believes that advertising has to deliver an equal value exchange between consumers, brands and publishers, we recently undertook a large, global study looking at how consumers are feeling about digital ads. And we found that 63 percent of viewers find it creepy when ads follow them around the internet and 61 percent of viewers feel that forced viewing annoys them or puts them off the brand that ran the ad.  

To cap it all, ad blocking is on the up. Globally, 93 percent of consumers would consider using ad-blocking software in the future, and the number of ad block users is predicted to rise to 1.15 billion by 2020. 

We recently launched our Future Video Lab in New York and London to help brands navigate the ‘Adblockalypse’ and make more shareable, social videos that users want to engage with. Here are our
top six tips.

1. Be authentic

77 percent of millennials and Generation Z believe advertising should embody the values and behaviours of the brand and 78 percent of millennials and Generation Z lose trust in a brand when an ad feels fake. Brand down, hard sell messaging has been proven to be less effective than genuine stories that create emotional connections.

2. Set your goals

Not all online video campaigns are created equal, nor should they be. Just as with other forms of advertising, different videos serve different purposes. Video is not simply a TV reach extension. Use the IAB’s 4As framework (Awareness, Advocacy, Action and Attention) and create content relevant for the job at hand.  

3. Get emotional

During our work with academics we’ve found there is a strong correlation between the percentage of viewers feeling an intense emotional response to an ad and the percentage of viewers with a high intent to purchase. Memorability is the driver here. Simply put, more emotional ads are more likely to be remembered, and more likely to have an impact once a consumer is at the point of making a purchase. If you make your viewers feel warmth, happiness, pride or nostalgia, they will attach that positive feeling to your brand and will be more likely to purchase in the future.  

4. Keep it personal and relatable

81 percent of millennials and Generation Z either don’t mind or like it when they see ads that are for products or services in which they are interested, and 64 percent of millennials and Generation Z want video ads to be personal and/or useful in the future. So while many consumers are being turned off ads, and many find the new world of programmatic ‘Big Brother’ style ads following them around the internet to be creepy, there is still an opportunity for brands who create relevant ads and show them to the right people at the right time. This doesn’t mean following me round showing the same ads at a frequency of 20+. 

5. Mobile is a must

The growth of mobile as a device for viewing online video is well documented. US viewers now spend 39 minutes per day watching online video on mobile devices, compared with 24 minutes on their desktops and laptops. So, marketers need to think about mobile video and create content especially for the format. Only then will they utilise the power of mobile to drive future marketing messages and revenues. Short form ‘sugar cube content’ (bite-size and sticky) has an equal place alongside 90-second longer form stories. One’s good for mobile, one’s good for desktop.

6. Empower consumers to share and interact

75 percent of millennials and Generation Z are prepared to share brand content if it’s good and 65 percent of millennials and Generation Z want video ads to be entertaining, emotional and/or interactive in the future. 

Far from shying away from brand content and refusing to share it with friends or family, the consumers of the future actually welcome it. But not when they’re being forced to watch it.

  • This column originally appeared in the November/December edition of NZ Marketing.
  • Lance Traore is the managing director of Unruly Media Australia and New Zealand. ([email protected]).

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