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This is a guest post by Oxygen8 Group’s James Harrison

As I type this article, another 100,000 mobile users are in the process of downloading Adblock Plus in the hope of saving themselves from an unwanted mobile advertising attack.

A recent survey of AdBlock’s users found that only 25 percent want to block ads altogether. This has led to AdBlock allowing “acceptable” adverts and supporting websites that rely on advertising but choose to do it in a non-intrusive way.

So the introduction of Adblock Plus for mobile isn’t as bad as we first thought. But it’s not time for marketers and advertisers to sit back and relax just yet. Here’s why:

What are the consequences?

For me, the introduction of Adblock Plus for mobile raises two important questions for discussion. With browser habits increasingly shifting towards mobile, do marketers and advertisers who rely on mobile advertising need to consider moving away from heavily online orientated strategies? Do they need to seriously reassess their options and the quality of their communications for the sake of their success?

Evidence provided so far would suggest that the answer, quite simply, is yes. The recent 2012 AdReaction Report from Milward Brown found that consumer experiences are falling short of expectations, highlighting that brands need to step up their game in the mobile space.

The report goes on to suggest that marketers should structure their strategy based on the person, location and ambient factors such as time or weather, as well as develop integrated campaigns that use display ads to drive traffic to an optimised website or app.

What’s the bigger picture?

If consumers want to be approached in ways that aren’t annoying, intrusive, or malicious, advertisers and marketers need to seriously look into the realms of SMS, for example, where location based marketing and geo-fencing are causing a stir and “big data” is the buzzword of the moment. Essentially, big data provides a communication method for intelligently bringing together all the data that is collected on an individual customer and then using it to make an informed decision as to what type of marketing message best suits their demographic profile.

A good example of implementing geo-fencing into a marketing strategy would be the recent Gap campaign. The clothing giant placed ads at bus stops and other transit locations in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. They then created geo-fences around these ads and the people that entered the geo-fence were sent mobile messages offering Gap coupons on particular sites and apps from Zynga. The campaign generated a 0.93 percent CTR, more than double the average CTR for mobile campaigns.

At the beginning of December we celebrated the 20th Birthday of the humble text message. While it may have taken SMS time to get off the ground, the latest Ofcom Communications Market Report hints that SMS may take an equally long time to decline. With strict opt-in and opt-out elements like no other form of marketing, SMS Marketing can be a very powerful form of customer engagement when used correctly. For marketers it would suggest that this mode of communication is almost certainly a step in the right direction to ensuring that they are communicating with willing consumers.

The evolution of viewing power

I’m not necessarily suggesting that I have the answer, but with the introduction of AdBlock Plus coupled with the introduction of the EU Cookie Law back in 2011 it would strongly suggest that viewing power is evolving to the advantage of the end user. My examples certainly offer a step in the right direction for marketers and advertisers in their quest to treat consumers as individuals as opposed to a collective.

I strongly believe that 2013 will hold great importance to developing mobile strategies that take every single consumer into consideration. Blanketing consumers with the same message will soon be a thing of the past. We are moving into an era where, if done correctly, no mobile marketing message should be unwelcome.

James Harrison is UK Country Manager of Oxygen8 Group’s UK sales and service activities. He also leads efforts in continuing to strengthen Group’s position in the UK. James has 12 years experience within the telecommunications industry, holding management positions at companies including BT, Phones4u and Mainline Digital Communications.

Image credit: Viorel Sima // Shutterstock

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