Phil Townend, Asia managing director at Unruly, believes the industry needs to focus on prevention instead of finding a cure. Unruly and Mindshare today unveiled a 'manifesto' for brands that want to beat ad blockers. The report is released in advance of Mindshare's APAC leadership conference in Hanoi next week.
“On Google Chrome, it takes six seconds to deploy an ad blocker," Townend told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "With just a click, you’ve lost another user. For the ad industry there’s lots of urgency around this. It’s not about waiting for things to get pear-shaped. We need to collectively do something now.”
Townend believes that the industry’s fixation on programmatic has played a role in the rise of ad blockers.
“People are so focused on the plumbing, but not on what actually goes in,” he said. “If the content ecosystem doesn’t start evolving at the same speed as programmatic, it doesn’t matter how shiny the pipes are.”
Townend suggested that the industry should address video as users have a “higher perceived value for videos” and can be more forgiving about turning off ad blockers to watch a video if it’s on a publisher site.
“Some publishers have a policy that tells the users they need to turn off their ad blocker before they can watch a video,” said Townend. “If the video is a show that the user wants to watch, there’s more incentive to do so.”
On top of that “ad blockers that stop video are less sophisticated at this point in time” compared to their ability to block ad formats like popups. Townend believes publishers and advertisers need to use this grace period as an opportunity to be more “open and honest” with users and regain their trust.
“The reason we are in this situation is that there’s a misguided view that the internet is free,” said Townend. “Consumers don’t understand that advertising is what funds content providers. Publishers and advertisers need to be more overt about that with the user, about how it’s a value exchange.”
But there's a paradox. Aside from building a dialogue with users, publishers and advertisers will need to actually "deliver more value through their content as well".
“Everyone needs to make better videos, and content that isn't just hard sell,” said Townend. "Consumers are fed up with ad clutter and too many antisocial, interruptive ads. The solution is polite advertising: polite-page loading, respectful ad formats that give a better user experience, and better ads in the first place. Content that’s worth watching.”
Unruly surveyed 3,200 consumers from around the world about what they want from video advertising online.
"The eruption of online video viewing in APAC creates the single largest opportunity and threat for marketers," said Sanchit Sanga, chief digital officer with Mindshare APAC. "Consumer-centric companies will recreate their content pipes and storytelling techniques at the core to address these fleeting, restless and picky audiences."
Relevant, targeted, native and contextual video that doesn’t disrupt viewing patterns will be the "mainstay for successful video delivery", he added. However, "dumping and spraying" of 30-second commercials, while focusing on "old world metrics" like eGRPs, "will spell doomsday for brands of today and tomorrow”, he said.
Other findings, taken verbatim from the survey:
- Almost two-thirds of Australian consumers (65 percent) are put off a brand when they are forced to watch a pre-roll. South-East Asian audiences are more forgiving, with less than half (45 percent) admitting they would feel negatively toward a brand after being forced to watch a pre-roll video.
- More than three-quarters of internet users (77 percent) across APAC say they mute video ads.
- 67 percent of South-East Asians find ads that follow them around the internet creepy—higher than the global average of 63 percent.
- 86 percent of South-East Asian consumers say they would lose trust in a brand if they felt an ad feels fake—the highest of any region. Authenticity is also important to internet users in Australia, with 77 percent saying they would think less of a company if their ad felt fake.
Control of video content is key in Australia, with 68 percent of Australian viewers stating that they like to be able to control video ads, higher than the global average of 61 percent.
Here are 7 steps Unruly suggests for creating more user-friendly video content: