Digital security, unsurprisingly, comes in for a lot of stick. I say unsurprisingly because of the amount of high-profile cases cropping up on a regular basis, from Sony allegedly being hit by North Korean hackers to the recent breach at Carphone Warehouse.
That kind of data breach is a lot more sophisticated than an email from a Nigerian king asking for a £20 million loan, but the principle goal is still the same; to steal information from the end user.
Worryingly the rise in smartphone and tablet technology has made it easier for hackers to take more risks. YouGov data indicates that 72 per cent of internet users have privacy concerns. That’s sure to increase with the rise in smartphone usage.
And with smartphones being one of the most popular ways to browse the internet it gives hackers a greater opportunity to try their luck through fake adverts and bogus apps on Google and Apple’s stores.
That behaviour’s already costing the online advertising industry approximately $1 billion a year. If you’re not careful then it could also affect the way you promote your business.
Have any mobile problems or specific software hit your revenue and business model? What are you doing to combat it? Let me know in the comments section below.
I’m talking about AdBlock. I received a press release toward the end of last week from AdBlock Plus that claimed the rise in mobile online fraud would correlate with a greater demand for AdBlock software.
“Malicious apps are expected to account for a disproportionately large amount of the ad space for sales amongst ad exchanges – the digital marketplaces that allow advertisers to place ads across thousands of different mobile apps,” says Ben Williams, Head of Operations for Adblock Plus.
“If this continues to escalate, then the mobile app advertising industry runs the risk of suffering the same fate as the online industry over security concerns with advertising.”
He also goes on to point out that consumers hate irritating ads and pop-ups and that they’ll do anything they can to block them, whatever the device. Well, he would say that; but he has a point. People are worried about security online, and a lot of ads can affect the overall user experience.
Especially on mobile; but with mobile advertising investment set to skyrocket then how do you convince your prospective customers that your website is safe?
Have you been Ad?
And online fraud isn’t advertisers’ only problem. AdBlock itself has been a thorn in marketers’ side for years. AdBlock has its own Android browser, and the company has recently defeated two publishers in a German court with the ruling saying AdBlock wasn’t anticompetitive.
You can see why content creators and advertisers have a problem. Blocking display ads hinders publishers’ ability to make money, while media buyers and brands are impeded from reaching their target audience no matter how good their campaign may be.
But many say they would uninstall AdBlock if only ads weren’t so intrusive to their browsing experience. Some ads make webpages load slowly, some are videos that autoplay; Trinity Mirror is trialling a method were people have to interact with an ad to read the rest of an article.
It’s part of the reason why Google has set up Contributor, but there’s still no general consensus on how it’s working out (some like it, some liken it to a paywall). But there is a general acceptance that ad revenue is needed to help content creators exist and brands spread the word.
So how do you avoid being hit by AdBlock software and get word of your business out there to more of your potential audience?
Is your website safe and secure? How do you convey that it is to your visitors, and have you had any positive feedback from shoppers because of it? Let me know below!
4 tips on increasing ad exposure
Google display ads, for instance, can be stifled by AdBlock and hit brands where it hurts. But there are ways around the software if you strategise well and inject a bit of creativity with your outreach methods:
1: Calls to action with integrated images
A lot of content creators are cottoning on to using their own creative imagery for internal linking and to direct traffic across other parts of their website. Instead of putting ad code into areas of their site for display ads, for example, they’re creating small box-outs with significant calls to action to direct people to deals and on-site offers in a bid to generate revenue instead.
2: Engage in native content sponsorships
Native advertising is really taking off. Working with the right content creators and influencers is a brilliant way to not only advertise your business, but to have it advertised in a creative way that goes beyond the standard guest post or blog. The message gets straight to the audience and can catch fire over social media; just make sure you partner with the right organisations.
3: Improve the user journey
A lot of people install ad-blocking software because their user journey is interrupted by pop ups and other ad intrusions. The best way to combat that is to make your website as effective to your users as possible; especially on mobile. Make sure to A/B test your website and listen to feedback from your users.
4: Invest time in social media
Investing time to talk to more people on social media is one of the best ways to communicate with people and market to them directly. Building up a natural following and creating original content is a fantastic way to drive traffic without relying on investing in ad placements across other webpages on the internet.
It can be tricky to avoid programmes such as AdBlock, but it can also free people up to be more creative with their outreach efforts and communicate more openly with potential clients and customers.
(Images: Nexus7, Galleryhip)