New HubSpot Research Reveals New ‘Rules of Engagement’ for Ad Industry

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SINGAPORE, Apr 5 – Ads are everywhere and appearing in new and different forms – but it doesn’t mean people like them. According to new research released today by HubSpot, a leading marketing and sales software company, ads are creating negative consumer experiences with brands with 80 per cent of consumers across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia leaving websites because of interruptive online ads, and 50 per cent of global audiences installing ad blocker tools to avoid the advertising drain.

Available online, “The Effectiveness of Advertising in Asia Pacific” report conducted by HubSpot Research highlights the impact of ad blocker software in improving consumers’ online experiences and uncovers higher levels of ad blocker penetration among millennial audiences.  Globally, ad blocking cost publishers close to $22 billion in 2015 alone, representing a cause for concern among traditional advertisers who must rethink methods of audience engagement. 

“As long as there are products to market, advertisements will never disappear, but advertisers must listen to the consumers, as they evolve and their behavioural traits change,” said Ryan Bonnici, HubSpot’s Director of Marketing in Asia Pacific. “Marketers who want to connect with potential customers – or maintain existing relationships with loyal customers – need to get smart about their digital ad spend, supplementing and enhancing the online experience, not interrupting it. 

“Today, brand control is absolutely in the hands of the consumer – they are unsubscribing from emails, skipping commercials, screening telemarketing calls, and most troubling to the ad industry, blocking online ads. As consumers, we are now spending more than half our time accessing the internet via mobile devices – given that ad blocker tools have been available on Android and iOS for some time, it can be inferred that access to audiences has been significantly reduced, driving the need for new ways to meaningfully engage with your target audience.” 

Earlier this year, Apple announced iOS 9 will allow ads to be blocked on Safari and across apps. With 20 per cent of all web browsing occurring within Safari, the report from HubSpot reveals huge implications for traditional advertising techniques. It also investigates how marketers will engage consumers with ads in the future and uncovers how legacy techniques of audience engagement are damaging consumer relationships. Key marketing takeaways from the report include:

  1. Millennials have the highest adoption rate of ad blocker software, with Adblocker Plus – the world’s most popular ad blocker app – reaching 300 million downloads worldwide.
  2. Email and sponsored-advertising generate the most neutral experience, but 77 per cent of respondents revealed they would unsubscribe from a brand’s distribution list if they were sent too many messages. 
  3. Globally, 96 per cent of consumers have unsubscribed from receiving emails, with 46 per cent of consumers in Asia Pacific stating they didn’t sign up to mailing lists to begin with.
  4. Ads are getting a lot of attention but consumers in Asia Pacific feel negative towards telemarketing calls (66%); pop ups (51%); and auto playing videos (40%).
  5. Want to damage your brand’s reputation? Three quarters (75%) of respondents in Asia Pacific indicate they would have a lower opinion of a brand if they are subjected to a telemarketing call.

While no forms of advertising received a positive response across Asia Pacific, The Effectiveness of Advertising recognised that ads with neutral experience scores, such as email newsletters or sponsored content appearing on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, created an unobtrusive experience. Among digital consumers, HubSpot’s data revealed there is a clear preference for native advertising – typically matching the look and feel of the platform they appear within. 

Mr Bonnici concluded, “Considering the rapid-consumption of information through downward scrolling on social media platforms, it’s no surprise that native ads create a neutral experience for consumers. If executed correctly, it can be hard for consumers to recognise the difference between a well-crafted native ad and a standard post listed on the platform.”

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