Has Digital Advertising Met Its Match?

It's happened to all of us. You click on a link to visit a website only to be greeted by a veritable fireworks display of pop-up ads, banner ads, interstitial ads, auto-playing video embeds, and social media widgets. And that's just what you can see. Behind the scenes, trackers are collecting information and data about you.

It's no wonder that more and more people are using ad blockers to strip down and clean up their browsing experience.  In fact, more than 45 million Americans used ad blocking software of some kind in the second quarter of 2015, up 48% from a year earlier.

Those numbers are likely to continue climbing, particularly since this week's launch of iOS 9 sees Apple bringing ad blocking to mobile—although they call it Content Blocking. The bottom line is that consumers find most forms of digital advertising to be disruptive and annoying at best, and downright creepy at worst.

So how can marketers respond to this growing trend toward ad blocking?

Marketing expert Seth Godin, who championed the concept of Permission Marketing 15 years ago, suggests that advertisers are getting just what they deserve:

[A]dvertisers have had fifteen years to show self restraint. They’ve had the chance to not secretly track people, set cookies for their own benefit, insert popunders and popovers and poparounds, and mostly, deliver us ads we actually want to see.

Godin suggests that ad blockers may be undermining the “fundamental principle of media” (that consumers trade their attention for free content), but the solution lies not in counteracting ad blocking software or inventing newer, more insidious ways of presenting ads, but rather in marketers finding new, more engaging and more valuable ways to conduct themselves.

Developing a terrific product and inviting consumers to engage with it—"earning the privilege to contact them,” as Godin puts it—is the way forward.

This is the dynamic at the heart of health influencer-to-consumer marketing:

  • A permission marketing focus on educating health influencers and consumers about your healthy brand in meaningful ways.

  • A way to spark face-to-face, in-person conversations that add value to everyone involved.

  • A desired recommendation delivered to the consumer by a trusted health & wellness resource.

While digital advertising faces a murky future full of declining impressions, limited engagement and increasing consumer dissatisfaction, health influencer-to-consumer marketing can deliver highly relevant and engaging interactions about your brand between your target consumers and the health influencers they trust most. And they can’t be blocked, down voted, or ignored.

Photo Credit: PirateChickan (modified)