Adblockers & digital marketing in Kenya

This week Apple announced that they will allow use of ad blocking software on the iPhone and iPad in a move intended to please users.

Ad block software is a touchy subject. A quick look at the vitriol poured out in the comment section of ad block articles will confirm this. This is because ad blockers are a disruption to the internet’s business model as we know it.
The internet works by offering (mostly) free useful content that feed search engines such as Google. In return, the creators of this content get remunerated for their hard work through advertising. Such as banner ads for text based content and Youtube ads for video.
Ad blockers, in a scary effective way, give the internet user an advertising free web experience. No clutter, no flash web banners, no YouTube ads, no Facebook ads. You get the information or entertainment you were looking for and you go on your merry way.
Proponents of this argue that web advertising has become way too intrusive. By using trackers, like a lot of e-commerce sites do, your web activity is monitored. So, you’ll keep seeing the same ad over and over again no matter what web page you visit. This kind of aggression is not welcome in the digital space.
But no matter how annoying ads get, ad blocking brings up a huge problem for content creators; who only make money if an advert is seen and engaged with.
Necessity being the mother of invention, ad blockers have given birth to native advertising. Here, content and advertising is merged into one. Sort of like product placement in movies.

Buzzfeed is the master of this. As you read an article titled 5 new ways to keep your love life sizzling, pay attention to any brand names that are mentioned.
Another way to by-pass ad blockers, is through owned media. As Alex Muriu explains, “The digital space is private. We can’t operate like it’s TV. You have to give your customer value first.”

And that’s what they did with the KCB Back to School activation done in the bank branches. Bank staff dressed up in school uniforms as the third term began in the Kenyan school year. Chase Bank did a similar outdoor campaign that received some traction on social media.

KCB staff in school uniform ready for the Back to School season

According to the experts, owned and earned media is the way to go in digital marketing. Creating stories worth telling and spreading increases awareness and engagement in a way traditional advertising rarely does.