I know – an ad guy telling you not to do ads is like a fry cook telling you to lay off the cheeseburgers. But hear me out.
First, some scary statistics that’ll give any marketer chest pains.
A recent study by eMarketer estimates that 75.1 million people in the U.S. have ad blocking software installed on their computers, tablets or smartphones. And by the end of this year that number is expected grow to 86.6 million. That works out to 27.5% of all Internet users in this country.
My finely honed and blindingly insightful marketing intuition suggests that might possibly mean people aren’t the biggest fan of annoying banner ads. So much so that more than 1 in 4 of us (and that’s only going to increase) will spend money to block them.
Which brings me back to the point. People devote their time online to whatever it is they decide is important, interesting or entertaining. Most of the time, that’s not an ad (unless it’s a really great ad – but we’ll save that for another blog post).
So don’t do them. Offer your audience something other than a sales pitch. Something they’ll actually seek out and choose to spend time with.
Like what, you ask? Dollar Shave Club is a great example. In fact, I’m one of more than three million customers who like cheap razor blades and irreverence delivered to my door every month. Just five years after startup, DSC has blossomed into personal grooming empire for men. Yeah, they pulled me in with great blades and convenience (Only $6 a month. What?), but they keep me coming back – spending time and money on their website – with fascinating, borderline inappropriate advice on important lifestyle subjects like:
- "The Knife Edge Balance of Drinking While Cooking"
- "What Guys Don’t Get About Bras"
- "The Cultural History of Sweat Pants"
Who wouldn’t give a few minutes (OK – half an hour) of their day running down those rabbit holes? The point to all of this is simple enough for even a slow-witted art director to understand – if you want folks to give you their precious time and attention, give them something worthy of it.
In other words, be interesting. Or be blocked.