In webspace, nobody can hear you advertise…

In fact, research from Google shows that as users develop familiarity with where display advertising is placed, one in every two people don’t see ads – a symptom known colloquially as ‘banner blindness’.

Apple recently announced that they will allow iPhone users to install adblocking apps in their latest software update iOS 9.

And, with the rise in adblocking users already growing exponentially, we could soon be seeing the end of online display advertising within just a few short years.

So with more and more people opting out of disruptive forms of advertising, it really is time for brands to pay attention to alternatives.

Why digital display advertising isn’t working.

Display ads are like that brash guest you meet at a party who hurls themselves towards you, exclaiming their name loudly in your face and telling you about themselves before you’ve had a chance to open your mouth.

The fact is, we simply don’t browse web pages for the ads. The reason we are compelled to read articles online is because someone has offered us something of value. Once we’ve landed on a page, we are now conditioned to navigate straight towards the bullseye: scanning at full speed until we find what we’re looking for. Anything that gets in the way creates frustration, and disrupts our experience.

We already know that people have a deep distrust of being sold to, and so it should come as no surprise that only one per cent of millennials said that compelling advertising would make them trust a brand more.

So, what’s the secret to surviving the adblocking apocalypse?

The most powerful tool any marketer can have in our online ad-free future is great content marketing. Put simply, the future-proof skill set for any marketers (regardless of industry or budget) will be the ability to tell compelling stories consistently and in a manner that compels the reader to want to hear more.

Compared to our brashy, flashy display advertising experiences, content marketing is like the charming party host who singles out every guest and introduces themselves, expressing genuine understanding of their captive audience, and conversing with them on subjects of supreme mutual interest.

Content inhabits a world far away from the ravenous ad-blockers who gobble up anything that looks like advertising. Content marketing is an opportunity to provide your audience with respectful, tangible and emotive examples of how your products and services can help them or help others.

Where advertising is placed on the periphery of the page – where users are now averting their eyes, content is placed in the centre of the page – where users are actually looking!

The future for content marketing begins now.

The most successful brands will begin their shift from being advertising-dependent to content-empowered right now. Don’t wait for your cost-per-acquisition to continue rising and rising while your users are literally blocking your messages.

Telling the right stories will help you trigger an emotional response, prompting donations or action. You’ll be able to reap the rewards of growing a more engaged fan base with increased brand loyalty – all by using content to build trust-based relationships.

To help you build your content marketing strategy, join me along with other clever content marketers from across the NFP sector for a workshop in Melbourne (30 Sep 2015) and Sydney (12 Oct 2015) in partnership with Pro Bono Australia: “Content is Queen.”