Surfing the web can feel like walking into a crowded bazaar, with a constant barrage of advertising that assaults users and distracts them from finding the information they seek. As a result, a growing number of regular internet users have turned to ad-blockers to clean up the pages they visit and improve their online experience. What does this freedom from seeing ads mean for the accounting firms that pay for them?
For starters, it means that fewer and fewer people actually receive the messages you so carefully craft and pay to deliver. It’s not just a few outliers who use this technology, either. Over 615 million internet-enabled devices utilize some form of ad-blocking and the use of these techniques grew 30% in 2016 according to PageFair, a respected company that studies ad-blocking behavior and creates anti-ad-blocking tools. With dozens of free ad-blocking applications available, the phenomenon is a significant issue for advertisers.
Whether you choose to make your content available to users with ad-blockers is one concern, but a bigger one is how you deal with the fact that paid advertising isn’t reaching as many eyes as you would like. In that situation, it’s wise to think about other strategies for delivering your message and building your accounting firm’s brand.
There are many ways to influence opinion and reach your audience; a well-rounded marketing strategy doesn’t depend heavily on advertising, although it may be a part of your complete plan. Today’s marketing tools also include those that blur the line between advertising and other marketing.
- Content marketing – in this approach, you’re not advertising at all. You’re simply sharing content that is valuable to recipients, which inspires respect and builds brand recognition. Content marketing can be extremely effective when implemented thoughtfully and consistently. Learning how to extend the reach of your content is another key to success with this strategy.
- Influencer marketing – this technique involves convincing specific individuals who are influential in the markets you wish to reach that your firm stands out by virtue of exceptional knowledge and abilities. It’s not an approach to rely on as the main thrust of your marketing but can be valuable as a complement to your overall strategy.
- Native advertising – this is paid content that appears as sponsored or suggested articles on social media or other platforms. Creating content that blends seamlessly into the platform in question and offers true value for readers is critical to the success of native advertising. While this technique provokes some ethical questions, it can be more effective than traditional advertising at building trust and fostering engagement.
Competing in a crowded accounting marketplace requires a creative approach and a willingness to change as your audiences’ behavior evolves. Ad-blockers may minimize the impact of the paid advertising you have relied on in the past, but other new technology (particularly social media) offers you the opportunity to overcome barriers and engage with your audiences more effectively than ever before.