Why an Intent Strategy Can Solve the Ad Blocking Problem


by Som Puangladda

One solution digital marketers can use for circumventing ad blockers is initiating a strategy based on intent marketing.

The digital advertising industry is facing an interesting dilemma right now. According to recently released research from Adobe, there are currently almost 200 million active ad blocker users. This poses a threat to everyone involved in the browsing experience. Publishers are projected to lose $21.8 billion this year. Advertisers are finding it harder and harder to deliver their ads to users. Brands are losing a valuable avenue of customer outreach and consumers are running the risk of losing the free content they so enjoy.

To be fair, a large portion of this problem comes from the fact that certain demographics have specific expectations when it comes to their browsing experience. For example, young males, the group most likely to install ad blockers, are much less inclined to browse to look for deals and exclusive offers. They know what they want and equate ads with being intrusive distractions. It also doesn’t help that Millennials are extremely cynical toward anything corporate.

This is where the value of intent marketing really shines. By piecing together data that paints an accurate customer picture, marketers can craft ad content that speaks to customers on a more intimate level. Then, using the power of real-time delivery tools, users can be retargeted with ads for products they’ve actually expressed interest in. This demonstrates to customers these ads aren’t just being thrown at a large group that includes them, but are being offered to them based on their actual interests. Intent marketing, therefore, can help prevent users from turning to ad blocking because they recognize that these ads have a lot of value for them.

But what about people who have already decided on ad blocking? Well, the right intent marketing strategy can win them back, too. However, before you formulate such a strategy, it’s critical to understand why customers today are so willing to block ads. It’s not that the ads have become negative or overbearing, but simply because there is a new customer mindset forming that offers great opportunities for marketers.

Technology such as smartphones and social media has given rise to the age of the empowered customer, who believes he or she should be the center of the experience. Whether it’s the content experience, the ad experience, or the shopping or or retail experience, many customers today feel as though their needs should come first.

This context is important to understanding why people are using ad blockers, especially when you juxtapose it with the fact that many customers are willing to provide personal information about themselves if it means a more relevant ad experience. By looking at these two factors, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t that customers are growing to hate ads, but that they are growing increasingly intolerant of ads that are not relevant to them.

With the power of intent marketing, marketers can use this mentality to usher in a whole new degree of customer loyalty by appealing to them on an individual level. Intent marketing provides a level of personalization that allows ads to resonate with customers’ experiences, and it’s this kind of personalization that customers today crave.

In a world where people don’t even like being called “consumers” because it seems too generalizing, marketers need to demonstrate that they not only care about the customer experience, but care about it on an individual level. By using tools that gather and analyze intent data, marketers can get the right ads to the right people.

These tools can build and utilize comprehensive user profiles, providing the degree of relevance that today’s digital marketing campaigns should have. For example, if a 25-year-old male who frequents content related to video games goes on a gaming site and sees a pre-roll ad for a game that’s already a month old, he views it as irrelevant. It’s showing an ad he’s most likely already seen 100 times before. If that pre-roll ad is endorsing a new game from the makers of one he’s often expressed interest in, he’ll be much more willing to watch and click on it.

One of the biggest reasons that people today are adapting ad blocking technology is that they feel ads are intrusive and disruptive. With the power of intent marketing, marketers can show customers that ads are designed to enhance the browsing experience, and that using ad-blocking can actually take away from it. Effective intent marketing builds trust and it’s that trust that will usher in a new era of customer enjoyment.