According to a report by PwC, digital advertising is the fastest growing advertising segment, expected to grow at an 11 percent CAGR clip to reach $260.4 billion by 2020. What’s driving growth the most is mobile ad spend. In 2015 nearly half of digital advertising spending was on mobile, and emarketer says mobile advertising will grow 38 percent in 2016 to reach 63 percent of digital advertising.
Mobile ad spend is growing fast because mobile searchers now outnumber desktop and laptop searches combined, and mobile search is growing faster. To learn more on this read Why You Need to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Now.
The biggest threat to this growth is the possible rise of adblockers.
To ensure success and to beat adblockers, advertisers can learn from content and inbound marketing best practices. In essence, the core message is simple–deliver ads that people don’t want to block.
Think Like Google
Inbound marketing is based on the premise that people go online to search for solutions, not products. They’re looking for help, not a sales pitch. Recognizing this, Google has completely retooled its search engine results algorithms around “user experience”–giving searchers what they’re truly looking for, not just literal word matches. Google now uses natural language processing to understand user intent, along with its vast repositories of previous search results, to better understand search terms and to deliver the right pages to the user. To learn more read Think Like Google: Adapting Our Content for a Better User Experience.
Advertisers should do the same. Here are a few characteristics of ads that will be successful in the future.
Make it Mobile
This should be obvious, but if you’re not optimizing your ads for a positive mobile experience, you’re missing at least half of your market.
Help, Don’t Pitch
An ad doesn’t have to be a pitch. It can be an offer to help people define their personal or business problem, understand the available solutions, and pick the solution that’s best for them. The burden on advertisers is to:
- Understand their ideal customers
- Create offers to help these customers in their search for solutions
- Be very clear about who their products or services help the most
- Stop promising to be right for everyone
- Stop trying to trick people into clicking on or buying something
To learn more read Marketing is About Trust, Not Tricks.
Relevant Landing Pages
Ads should link to content that is directly relevant to the ad copy and offer. Content marketers have learned that a high bounce rate–when users immediately click away from a landing page–is a red flag and summons a harsh penalty from Google.
Don’t just link to your company homepage. Users respond to value. Offer a video, an ebook, or a case study. If you’re a realtor looking for listings, offer a free appraisal. If you’re a website design agency, offer a website design cost calculator. Give people some immediate, personal assistance in their search for help.
Target, Target, Target
You want to find people who are likely to become customers. Don’t target those who aren’t. It’s tempting to cast a wide net, but it can be counter-productive. Delivering your ads to the wrong people can increase bounce rates and blocks. It is now possible to target groups around much more than keywords. With social platforms like Facebook you can target all kinds of areas of interest based on Facebook users’ likes, groups, and previous behavior.
Digital advertising is moving into the same territory as content and email marketing. Success requires aligning your content and offers with what is important to users, not to your company. Trying to interrupt, distract, trick or otherwise interfere with users desires will fail. Delighting searchers with a helping hand as they search for solutions will win.