- Consumers show their dislike of advertising in a number of ways, including approaching media with wariness, tuning out ad formats regardless of channel, adopting ad blocking software no matter how they feel about ads and seeking alternative information sources when researching purchases, according to a Forrester Research report titled “How To Advertise To Consumers Who Hate Ads” made available to Marketing Dive.
- It's not all bad news for marketers, however, with Forrester also finding that the most digitally-savvy segment, which it calls “progressive pioneers," demonstrated the greatest affinity with ads. These consumers accept advertising as part of the digital content bargain, find ads educational, engage with ads across marketing channels both digital and traditional and also take action after viewing ads.
- The report suggests marketers shouldn’t think of advertising from a top-down communications approach where a message is simply being blasted out, and instead consider the audience and their needs with a more empathetic approach. Three specific ways to accomplish were highlighted: addressing consumer values, targeting contextual needs by easing pain points in the buyer’s journey and using emotion in adverting messaging.
The Forrester report is the latest indication that consumers are increasingly defining how they experience advertising, from adopting ad blocking technology to setting the terms around how they are willing to be receptive to ads. As ad blocking use continues to grow, the industry has stepped up the rhetoric around improving the quality of ads in hopes as it becomes clear that the trend is impacting publishers' ability to monetize content and marketers' ability to get their message out. However, it is unclear how much headway has been made in eliminating poor quality ad experiences and there is the possibility that marketers will need to do more than just eliminate intrusive ad formats if they want to regain the trust of consumers.
Forrester's recommendation for ad strategies that address consumers' values, simplify the path to purchase and leverage emotion are sound. However, some marketers have already adopted these strategies, with mixed results. Value- and emotion-driven advertising can be tricky for brands, with several recent attempts results in annoyed consumers because of a perceived lack of authenticity. Pepsi's recent protest ad with Kendall Jenner is one of the more recognizable examples.
On the path-to-purchase front, marketers appear to be making some headway, with a growing number of examples that combine content and commerce to address how consumers are increasingly researching and purchasing online, including from Diageo and Amazon Prime. But even this approach doesn't always work as Conde Nast recently founded when it shut down Style.com 9 months after revamping it with a stronger commerce angle.
Per Forrester, marketers should also personalize advertising when targeting the most acceptable progressive pioneer segment using higher level tactics such as actualizing identity resolution through identifying individuals across marketing channels and personalizing the messaging across those channels. The report also suggests marketers use artificial intelligence technology to manage personalized content.
Along with personalizing ad content, marketers should also tailor creative by the device an audience will see the messaging on as well as the platform where it appears. An example of this challenge is 29% of mobile executives admit their mobile experience is just a scaled-down version of the desktop experience instead of something created specifically for a mobile audience.