A day of reckoning is coming soon for digital marketers – and it won’t be pretty.
Digital display ads are under attack and it might be too late to save them. As one of the most widely recognized nuisances of the modern internet era – right behind Vine “celebrities” and those phishing emails that pretend to be from reputable companies – digital ads have really gotten an unfair shake in their brief history.
Though they have been increasingly ignored by internet users far and wide, they are still largely praised by digital marketers for their effectiveness at driving brand awareness and interaction with consumers, and for their ability to reach much larger audiences than with traditional media. In addition, many digital advertising tactics are successful at enhancing the effectiveness of other marketing channels.
But the ad-blockers are coming. Well, to be quite honest, they’ve been here for a while. Despite their omnipresence overseas though, they are much less prevalent among U.S. internet denizens. Perhaps we have a higher tolerance for display ads here in the states, or maybe we just really like to complain about things.
A recent study conducted by eMarketer found that an estimated 69.8 million Americans are expected to use some form of ad-blocking software this year – which is an astounding 34% increase over last year’s total. And that figure isn’t an aberration either – the number is expected to jump to 86.6 million internet users in 2017.
This advancing army of ad-blockers is making life particularly hard for marketers in the business of display ad retargeting. How effective can display ad retargeting be, if the very display ads in question are blocked from ever appearing on the pages they’re supposed to appear on? Well, that’s kind of like asking “how effective are billboards to a blind person?”
As ad-blocking becomes more and more prevalent, and display ads begin to lose whatever stronghold they might have had on the retargeting game, in which direction should marketers turn? Back to the old reliable marketing channels of yore – namely, direct mail and email.
The resiliency of direct mail, even amid the rapid digitization of almost everything – including marketing – is a testament to its effectiveness. So, to combat the wave of ad-blocking hysteria that continues to sweep the internet, the most logical strategy for retargeting is to employ a multichannel remarketing strategy that takes the best aspects of display ad retargeting – its relevance and timeliness – and combines it with the performance and responsiveness of direct mail and email.