A new study has found that ad blocking in the US will increase by double digits this year. More than 25% of US Internet users are now using some kind of ad blocker when they browse the web.
Is it any real surprise?
Online publications and specifically news sites are extremely bloated. And by that I mean that to the casual reader or viewer of content it seems that there are more ads than actual content.
And all those ads take time to load and even with a fast Internet connection it gets frustrating to wait for all the ads to load only to quickly close them out and try to find the story that you were looking for in the first place.
I totally get that some websites make their money on advertising. I really do understand that. But when it gets to the point where the experience of trying to read or watch or listen to content is unbearable there is a problem. And it opens opportunity for others to come in with a better experience.
Businesses Have An Opportunity
I think businesses have always played a role in producing content. Companies have put out newsletters, magazines, videos and more for decades. But in recent years it’s become more common for businesses to produce content.
There is something interesting happening in the NFL right now.
Each team is becoming its own media company. For each team there are local reporters or beat writers that write about the team. They work for local newspapers, TV stations and even blogs on occasion.
But now teams have been producing their own content. And because those teams have other sources of revenue, unlike newspapers for example, the teams don’t need to over-bloat their websites (although some do…).
There are many times where I go to read an article about the Green Bay Packers on a newspaper website and get frustrated with the experience with ads and I end up leaving and going to the Packers website to find content.
Businesses have an opportunity to provide content that will attract target audiences to their website and brand. Here are some things to follow to if you’re looking to take advantage of the ad blocking trend…
Tip #1. Buy-In, Commit & Invest
The biggest thing to do before you start a content strategy is to get buy-in from yourself and anyone else important to your business. It takes a long-term commitment to have a successful content strategy. There have been many businesses that have started a blog or podcast or video series or whatever only to give up on it after six months.
And six months can seem like a long time, but it’s not enough for a content strategy to really take hold. It might if your brand is already recognized and has a following, but if you’re working to help build a brand with a content strategy you’re looking at 1-2 years and long to start gaining traction.
And by investment I mean both financially and emotionally. You have to believe in the content strategy and see it through for the long-term and it requires investing money and energy. Some businesses try to get by with having someone spend part of their time doing social media or part of their time doing blogging or whatever.
It really requires someone that’s full time.
Tip #2. Understand The Target Audience
The big thing with content strategy is the target audience. It all revolves around your target audience and the information they’re looking for.
In a B2B situation you’re looking to answer the questions the audience has as it relates to their job.
In a B2C situation you’re looking to answer the questions the audience has as it relates to their lives and usually the aspect of their lives that relates to what you’re providing.
For example, if you’re selling to CEOs then you want to provide answers to questions they have about running their businesses.
If you’re selling to people that travel then you’ll want to write about all things travel.
And one final note on strategy is that you want to answer questions people have very early in the sales process. Yes, “What does your service cost?” is a question your audience will ask, but not until later in the sales process. That answer belongs on your website and not in a video or blog post.
Tip #3. Trust The Sales Process
Finally, the sales process will take some time with a content strategy. You’re earning people’s attention before they really know that your brand exists. They’re not in the mood for buying your product or service right away, but at some point they will be and they’ll come back to the brand that helped them.
That’s the concept behind content marketing. It’s how it works for this website. The blog now brings in about half of our traffic with all the traffic the posts get each day. And those posts have helped to build our reputation online so that our main pages rank well for general terms.
It all relates back to the content strategy.
Lots of online publications are upset about ad blocking software, but you can’t blame people for being frustrated with sites that are bloated with ads. It’s not a good experience. There has to be a better balance. And if publications can’t survive without all those ads then it’s an opportunity for businesses to step in and provide the content that people are looking for. You can provide the content your audience wants. Do so without pushing ads for your business on them and trust the sales process. It will work out for you in the long run if you stick with it.