How Ad Blocking is Changing the Public Relations Landscape


Changes in the digital advertising and marketing landscape appear to be having a direct impact on public relations strategies and tactics for brands of all sizes. The use of Internet ad blocking software is on the rise, according to a new report, wiping out an estimated $21 billion+ in global revenue. The trend is forcing savvy marketers to focus more on contextualized advertising, content marketing and other innovative online and offline promotional initiatives.

The global use of ad blocking software — that prevents display advertising from appearing on web pages — has risen 41% year over year, according to an annual joint report from Adobe and PageFair. And the percentage increase is even higher here in the U.S., which saw blocking increase by 48% in the same period. Globally, the number of Internet users shunning ads has risen to almost 200 million.

And the trend is expected to continue — especially as ad blocking software expands to mobile devices. Indeed, Apple’s new iOS 9 which is slated for release this fall will offer iPhone and iPad users the option to block ads, much the way Firefox already does for mobile users.

Content marketing and contextualized advertising are riding to the rescue, as these tactics become a greater portion of the promotional mix for consumer brands. And PR executives and agencies are responding and creating innovative campaigns to garner the spotlight within editorial content that isn’t blocked.

Of course, this trend isn’t entirely new as it mirrors what has happened in television over the past two decades, as more Americans adopted DVRs and more easily began time-shifting programming and fast forwarding through ads.

And now, new content marketing services are helping brands of all sizes get affordably showcased within editorial content on newspaper, TV and radio websites and in print newspapers. These types of services are a smart component of a marketing campaign. For example, our StatePoint service can guarantee 1,000 media placements per story, reaching more than 50 million readers nationally.

And more than just being unblocked, such content is actually desirable to both media outlets in need of fresh material and their audiences, so long as you employ best practices and your feature stories, infographics and listicles are developed as true editorial content — with the majority of each piece featuring non-promotional information of tangible value to readers.

The key to adding such smart content marketing initiatives into your overall marketing mix is to make sure your content has enough of the good stuff so consumers will buy into your promotional message.

It’s all about getting organic editorial placements, so people can’t skip or block your ad and won’t want to tune it out.

Image Credit: Laurent Hamels – Fotolia.com