Ad BlockingIndustry News & Views

The Value of Permission in Digital Advertising

By December 18, 2019 No Comments
woman holding a pen and sign up sheet

Welcome to the permission-based economy.

Seth Godin introduced the concept of permission marketing back in 1999, a type of advertising where a closely targeted audience is given the choice of whether they receive promotional information or not. Since then, it is interesting to see where consumer permission (consent) has been employed successfully across the marketing landscape and where gaping holes still exist. 

Permission has been successful for many purposes.

Millions of US consumers subscribe to receive emails from couponing companies like Groupon and Coupons.com. By the very nature of these emails, they are packed with ads for a variety of goods and services. Further, consumers offer up their interests, preferences and location to these companies so that the email offers they see are relevant to them, further enhancing their value.

Then there are the daily deals, bargain ecommerce sites like MorningSave, LivingSocial and DailySteals. Once again consumers give their permission to receive emails with linked ads promoting products that link back to their websites.

More examples include consumers signing up for newsletters, news from blog sites, loyalty cards, subscribing for specific YouTube channels, Facebook fans of a channel seeing ads and RSS feeds to name but a few.

So clearly giving consumers control and gaining their permission to see ads work in these cases.

Somehow, the advertising industry has not caught on.

It is staggering to see the huge backlash from consumers when their consent is ignored. An article in the New York Times by Tiffany Hsu just 2 months ago puts it succinctly. The article headlines “The Advertising Industry Has a Problem: People Hate Ads”. Whether on TV, billboards or the internet, advertising that is low quality, irrelevant and often intrusive has driven consumers to avoid them at all costs. This reaction is really bad for advertisers who spend billions of dollars a year trying to reach a now massive unreachable audience. The article references two critical quotes:

“People hate advertising,” said Joanna Coles, the former chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, during a session at the Advertising Week conference. “And it’s all advertisers’ fault.”

Seated next to her, nodding in agreement, was Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, one of the largest advertisers in the world. Ads, he said, are often irrelevant and sometimes “just silly, ridiculous or stupid. We tried to change the advertising ecosystem by doing more ads, and all that did was create more noise”.

The challenge for advertisers in the digital world is magnified. Forbes quoted earlier this year that 47% of consumers are blocking ads. That’s more billions of dollars being wasted by advertisers paying for ads that are never seen.

We’ve found that users WILL give their permission to see ads

The answer is absolutely. At Adtoniq we are seeing as many as 70% of ad block users consenting to see ads if they are respected and given the choice to opt-in or not. What’s more, these consenting ad block users engage with ads far more than their counterparts, non-ad blocking audience, including up to a  5X increase in click through rates (CTR). They also convert at a much higher rate than consumers that don’t use ad blockers.

It sounds counterintuitive, I know, but it’s true. Asking consumers for their permission to see ads, if done right, really works.

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