Ad-Blocking and Millennials: Winning (and Keeping) Access Takes Context and Creative Content

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A month of ad-blocking news is nearly behind us, and, between Google’s new ad-block browser option and Apple’s autoplay-video blocking updates to Safari, it might seem that advertisers have never faced a more challenging landscape. When it comes to technology that consumers can use to turn off the creative in their content, the options are only increasing.

The scenario, however, is better than it seems. Despite the rise of opt-out options, recent data tells us that mobile consumers — especially Millennials and Gen Z shoppers — are open to engaging with brands. The trick is, each experience has to hit a mark far and away above overtly intrusive approaches to the ad unit.

The full-screen takeover? The intrusive mobile banner? Without tight alignment, and close attention to context, these are problems for advertisers. The future of anti-ad-blocking strategies is about reaching up-and-coming generations with new creative that anticipates, surprises, and inspires. We can look at some specific outcomes, what happens when advertisers hit this mark, in the examples below.

  • In our recent research, Millennials and Gen Z consumers told us that they want mobile creative to be location-aware and to dovetail with not only their place on a map but with what data tells advertisers about their interests and habits. They demand more than that, too: these younger shoppers want brands to anticipate what will inspire them next — even if, as Forbes reports, it means taking risks and going to new places for shopping experiences they haven’t had before.
  • The same young consumers told us that a “perfect” mobile ad is by and large the most relevant mobile ad. They want trusted sources, coupons delivered directly to mobile wallets, customized offers based on purchase histories … in other words, relevance (and convenience) trumps all. When we polled them, however, Millennials and Gen Z were even more specific in their responses about what these tightly aligning factors mean to them when it comes to their willingness to interact with brands: more than half (60%) said that location-smart, contextually appropriate mobile creative would prompt them to download, connect accounts, and share location data.
  • What do mobile ad-units that are tightly aligned with these young consumers interests and habits mean when it come to ad blocking? Millennials and Gen Z said they’d turn data-sharing and access back on for the advertisers that get it right.

The upshot of these factors amounts to a powerful case for advertisers’ critical attention to location, context and relevance. In these moments when technology grants consumers more and more ways to block ads, Millennials and Gen Z mobile consumers may well represent an opposite-pointing trajectory. Meaningful creative, they tells us, can undo the opt-out effect. Steer away from intrusive and contextually blind ads, and advertisers stand to capture some of the massive spend both generations now represent (more than $400 billion according to estimated of present and future potential).

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