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Ahead of the Curve: Ad Blocking

By Veronica Penaloza, Media Intern

In my past semester as an intern at the agency, I’ve come to recognize that a huge topic for GSD&M’s media department is ad blocking. The following is my reflection on the topic and how we’ve created solutions that make a difference for our clients and consumers.

Ad blocking is a sensitive topic for the media world. With the rise of programmatic, DSPs (Demand Side Platform) and SSPs (Supply Side Platform), GSD&M recognized that turning off banner ads is more than a fad—it is likely to stay, and performance will be improved with time.

According to a survey by Adobe and PageFair, 28 percent of people in the U.S. browse the web using ad blockers. However, we have found that ad blockers directly affect vendor performance and is one of the reasons why partners under-deliver impressions. As such, consumers are at the forefront of today’s interconnected world and will remain so for the long term.

With this in mind, GSD&M has taken a mindful approach to the current digital trend and is moving forward with alternative options that still allow the content to reach the target consumer using a sponsor-content model, which includes native ads.

GSD&M has already had the opportunity to conduct creative and native-ad media placements with a few key clients. LeapFrog, for example, leveraged its unique children’s educational products through “influencers who believed in the brand’s message” on social media platforms. The media team drafted a native strategy that gave community mavens the freedom to create their own content while incorporating LeapFrog’s brand experience into their own personal content. The campaign outperformed initial KPIs on different social media platforms.

To further the brand’s efforts, our LeapFrog media team partnered with BuzzFeed to produce and publish the video “9 Things I’m Excited to Teach My Kids: Presented by BuzzFeed and LeapFrog.” With more than 400 comments and over 600,000 views on YouTube, the partnership succeeded in reaching an audience that might have otherwise never experienced the content.

Looking ahead into 2016, a lot of GSD&M’s media plans will include more consumer interaction and innovative organic placements as more brands express interest in joining the stream of sponsored content. With ad blocking specifically, we recognize its ability to alter the industry, and so we are rethinking how to further grow the relationships brands have with consumers.

Remaining on the vanguard and leading by example, GSD&M will continue to serve ads that organically live in the user path, adapt to publishers’ internal strategies and solve the current challenge of ad blocking. Once again, GSD&M stays ahead of the curve in the digital media space, further exemplifying our vision “Ideas that Make a Difference” into our clients’ media catalog.

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