The rise of ad blocking and what you can do about it

Embarking on a digital word of mouth campaign where brand advocates spread the word for you is a solution top companies worldwide are using to reach millions of people, the right way.
Millward Brown report that a massive 27 per cent of people in Mena are already blocking ads. Silvia Razgova / The National
Millward Brown report that a massive 27 per cent of people in Mena are already blocking ads. Silvia Razgova / The National
As the fifth most active audience on social media in the world, people in the UAE spend an average of three hours a day interacting with their accounts. The Consumer Barometer - a free online global consumer insights tool developed by Google - reveals that 99 per cent of people in the UAE use a mobile or smartphone. In their words, "it's fair to say that today people of the UAE don't just 'go online' - they live online".

An advertiser's dream. Or maybe not.

Millward Brown report that a massive 27 per cent of people in Mena are already blocking ads (a figure on par with the rest of the world) which presents a new challenge to getting your ad seen that was never there before. For Forbes Media CRO Mark Howard, ad blocking isn't just a nuisance confined to early adopter types; it's an "industry-wide issue."

Add to this that Facebook have recently announced their change in algorithm to prioritise user-generated content above promoted posts and it makes targeting mobile audiences even more of a challenge.

So if this is the state of play, how can you work it to your advantage?

Embarking on a digital word of mouth campaign where brand advocates spread the word for you is a solution top companies worldwide are using to reach millions of people, the right way. A piece of content - review, photo, heck even a blatant ad is trusted when it comes from a friendly source. This is called advocate marketing.

Already in the region we have seen the likes of Unilever, PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson to name a few, embracing this new way of increasing their brand presence online and in the real world.

Here's our top tips on how to start changing your approach today:

- Creating engaging content is your first must do.

- Then you'll need to get this user friendly material in front of people who like your brand, your advocates, and make it easy for them to share.

- Better still, you should try to inspire them to become the storytellers, by creating content of their own about your brand.

- And keep the relationship alive. Once you have brand advocates, make them feel special, involve them in decisions you make about your products and let them have a voice in shaping the future of something they love. Share updates with them and make it easy and rewarding for them to circulate it with their networks.

Today's consumers are 'prosumers', they are no longer passive recipients of your ads. The sooner you start getting them on board with your campaigns, the more likely you are to achieve the objectives you have for your brand.

Karim Aly is co-founder TaskSpotting.

karim@taskspotting.com

business@thenational.ae

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter

Published: July 24, 2016 04:00 AM

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