Skip the ads and start telling stories: is storytelling a solution to adblockers?


A few weeks ago, our COO David Hueso was invited to present at an event organised by The Valley DBS and Agencias de españa to celebrate their partnership (read more about the collaboration here). David is a mobile marketing expert and digital strategist well known in the academic environment, serving as an Associate Professor both at The Valley Digital Business School in Madrid and the EAE Business School in Barcelona.

David spoke on digital transformation and how brands should skip the ads and start telling stories (the full presentation is available below). He highlighted what today is a very well known fact: the ad industry is going through some crises, a user engagement crisis. There are 200M users using adblock plugins today (according to IAB, 26 % of users  in Spain have installed an adblocker). A number that reflects how fed up people are by insignificant, annoying and intrusive ads especially on mobile, the most personal device. ‘We spend more time on mobile phones than any other device, so why not starting to think that if banner ads weren’t successful on desktop computer, they have no reason to be on mobile?’ questions David. Screens are smaller, banner ads significantly increase the loading time of the page of interest, and again, users have usually no interest in the message. Today, they consume only what they want, when they want and where they want – they hold the power and the Adtech industry should act accordingly.

Pics form David

On the left: some of the Agencias de España members and David. On the right: David running his workshop.

What should professionals like you do then? How can you reach consumers and properly engage them? “Engagement Marketing is the process of involving consumers in the co-creation of brand experiences” claims Alan Moore, and the winning recipe has as ingredients relevancy, personalisation and user-controlled. The combination will save the advertising industry from drowning.

Storytelling, like David says in his presentation, could be a solution. There’s been so much talk around Facebook’s Canvas, where brands are invited to tell stories rather than just promote their products or services. This is just one example and it’s getting the likes of consumers. As David says, “Everybody likes a great story, as in a book, movie… or ad” and the secret is in beauty, that in ads reside in content and how well it is expressed and UX.

The banner ad might be dead, but we should use creativity and a more personal and emotional approach to engage our users and promote our products and services. We do have a great opportunity, let’s explore it and see what happens.

Lara Pizzato
Marketing Manager at iadbox @lara_pizzato

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