You may ask yourself what is ad blocking, and how does it impact me? Or anyone?
In case you may have never heard of Ad blockers, they are tools that allow online users to enjoy navigating the Internet without advertisements. The software installs a proxy server onto the computer to inspect everything being browsed. The program then evaluates the content, and if deemed an advertisement, it is taken out allowing users to browse the Internet advertisement free, as noted in Anatomy Media’s study (Anatomy Media – Millennials At The Gate).
Ad-blocker software is widely known in the marketing and advertising industry because it impacts the way in which consumers are marketed to. This type of software has become troublesome to the marketing and advertising community, as millennials and Gen-Z users have increasingly adopted the use of the technology. Millennials between the ages of 21 and 34 have grown accustomed to browsing the Internet without any interruptions, as stated by the Global Web Index.
Additionally, tech companies have made it easier for Millennials and Gen-Z users to browse the Internet ad-free, by integrating ad-blockers directly into browsers.
For instance, Apple has launched a series of software updates for Safari (their web browser), that incorporate ad-blocking. Millennials/Gen-Z’ers using Apple products no longer have to worry about installing a separate software; their products come ready to use and advertisement free. Another example is Netflix, which allows all users to stream videos via the Internet without the interruption of ads and only for a monthly fee. Netflix is an additional channel lost by marketers and advertisers. Furthermore, these groups are going the extra mile to avoid advertisements at all cost.
Should Marketers Strive to Capture Millennials?
Marketers and advertisers are busy contemplating the importance of trying to reach the Millennial cohort, as the usage of ad-blocker software is at its highest. It is vital that they take Millennials seriously. Millennials are a significant group, one that is soon set to overtake the Baby Boomers as the largest US adult population group. Marketers and advertisers shouldn’t be discouraged by this fact — Millennials only seek to be understood!
Instead of running away from the Millennial and Gen-Z cohorts, marketers and advertisers should move towards them, continually seeking clever ways to engage them with advertisements.
They must strive to understand Millennials in order to find a solution for their ad-blocking behavior. Once marketers and advertisers fully understand the needs of Millennials, they will achieve higher levels of engagement and less avoidance.
Millennial/Gen-Z Expectations and Needs
Marketing professionals need to target this audience in creative ways to captivate their attention. As stated by the NewCo Shift, there are three key points that should be taken into consideration when targeting these groups:
- They have high expectations and are time sensitive.
- They pay close attention to ads that accidentally come through ad blocking software. They are intrigued by the more targeted ads in their content. In exchange, they respect and give credibility to those ads.
- They expect authentic and thoughtful advertisements about their interests. They don’t want general advertisements aimed at the masses.
The marketing industry has the opportunity, with these tactics, to engage Millennials who are not insensitive to advertisements, and who want to be understood as individuals.
In particular, storytelling creates better engagement rather than a direct ad. This is why influencer marketing has become popular among this group. Millennials do not want to hide from brand advertisements; rather they demand to be captivated and involved in the making of a targeted advertisement.
Are Marketers and Advertisers to Blame?
The extensive use of ad blocking software among the Millennial and Gen-Z cohort is almost mimicking the ripple effect. As marketers and advertisers continue to create un-engaging advertisements targeted towards these cohorts, the more these groups turn to advertisement-free channels. It may be that ad blocking is the solution to unfavorable ads. Marketers and advertisers may be to blame for the immense use of ad blocking software. Lousy advertisements and poor market research may be the cause of this widespread effect among Millennials and Gen-Z consumers alike.
The ripple effect can be put to a halt, as soon as marketers and advertisers realize that their targeting is misguided. In addition, they must fully understand the expectations that Millennials and Gen-Z consumers have when viewing ads directed at them. Once marketers and advertisers take action in avoiding the creation of irritable ads, Millennials and Gen-Z viewers may slowly turn away from relying on ad blockers. Only time will tell if there is a change, or if ad blockers will continue to rise.
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