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Marketers face 'digital backlash'

News, 08 December 2015

LONDON: Marketers must brace themselves for a "digital backlash", with ad blocking, fraud and concerns over viewability all high on the agenda in 2016, according to a panel that spoke at an event launching Warc's 2016 Toolkit, in association with Deloitte Digital.

According to the Toolkit report, this digital backlash is one of the six major trends that will face marketers over the year ahead. Ad blocking is at an "inflection point", with viewers unhappy with intrusive ads, while the debate over what makes a viewable ad is unresolved, and ad tech drives "fear and mistrust" in the industry.

Paul Wilson, Managing Partner for Strategy at Starcom MediaVest Group, suggested that ad blocking in particular is a "usability issue". He added: "Why would you not use one if going online is a bad experience?

"We've caused this problem ourselves. But if the publishers of the biggest websites got together to solve this problem, things will improve."

Nick Turner, Partner for Marketing and Insight at Deloitte UK, added that many of his clients are moving away from interruptive advertising and towards other formats as a result of the backlash. "They are looking at more content-rich sources," he said. "Fewer banners and more native. It's more authentic."

Meanwhile, Garry Woodcock, Head of Digital Marketing at BT Global Services, provided an example of this trend, saying that he preferred to advertise on "targeted" platforms such as LinkedIn rather than buying banners.

For his part, Ian Forrester, Insight Director at video specialists Unruly, was hopeful for the future. "When people have to start to pay for content if they have an ad blocker installed, they will turn off their ad blocker. It's an ongoing thing, a continuous process, but it's all going to come out in the wash."

Warc subscribers can read the full 2016 Toolkit, which gives details of all six of the trends set to reshape marketing over the next year.

Data sourced from Warc