It was bound to happen. After all, technology is advancing at a pace unlike any other time in history.
Almost as soon as disruptive ads became ubiquitous, programmers started looking for ways to make them more effective.
And they succeeded--even at getting around ad blockers.
In August, Facebook announced it had created and begun using software that essentially shuts down all ad blockers. The result is Facebook users will no longer be subjected to random ads of little interest to them. In fact, they'll be served ads that better align with their personal and professional interests.
But not everyone is happy about it.
Most major media outlets lamented the change in policy and practice. Some users who had ad blockers installed on their personal computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones complained. And within two days of Facebook's announcement, some in the ad blocking community started to come up with workarounds to Facebook's ad blocking techniques.
But marketing professionals who use online advertising as part of their inbound marketing strategies breathed one big collective sigh of relief. Facebook's move and the resulting feedback does raise an interesting question, however: How can companies effectively integrate online advertising into their inbound marketing strategies.
What has Facebook's move unveiled:
Numbers don't lie
The truth is, many internet users say they don't like pop-up ads. But in reality, digital advertising works.
Nielsen has completed more than 800 studies over the past several years, measuring the connection between online advertising and offline purchases made by consumers. The study included more than 80 companies and more than 300 brands.
After collecting seven year's worth of data, Nielsen concluded brands get a return on their advertising investment of nearly three dollars in incremental sales for every dollar spent on online advertising.
The numbers don't lie: Even though some people claim not to like online advertising, it does work.
Making ads smarter
The fact that online advertising works can't be ignored. But neither can the fact that consumers claim not to like it. It's critically important companies work to make their online ads smarter. Native advertising is one way to accomplish this.
Native ads are visually appealing, look and feel natural on the page and behave consistently with the user's experience. In other words, they look, feel and act like they are supposed to be there; they are more informative and content-oriented than pop-up ads.
But even if you're not compelled to use native ads, you should be aware of what people want from their internet experiences--and the numbers from Nielsen show online advertising really works. Especially if it is authentic, useful information presented through a variety of mediums that fit naturally into their experience.
That means creating a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy that melds quality content, SEO, emails and more to drive traffic to your website.