Alexandra Gibbs | News Assistant | CNBC

For consumers looking for a stress-free session online, the arrival of ad-blocking software has been a godsend. However, the technology isn’t getting everyone’s praises.

While there’s a lot of irrelevant advertising content found on the web, for leading marketers trying to sell their brand to potential customers, the ad-blocking tool has become more of a hazard — and a danger to vital income and sales.

“What the consumer is telling you by putting this ad-blocker in is ‘look I am being bombarded by mindless content that is not even relevant to me or interesting to me’ – and they just don’t want to be bombarded with this,” Raja Rajamannar, MasterCard‘s chief marketing and communications officer told CNBC’s “Marketing.Media.Money.”

“It’s like an ‘omni-block’ where even the good content that is relevant to them is being excluded, and they are prepared and willing to go ahead with that direction, because the rest of it is so extraordinarily irrelevant to them and the span of attention for consumers today is so less, that they don’t want to waste their time on something that’s not relevant.”

“So I can understand as a consumer why they are putting ad-blocks (in). (But) as a marketer now it’s a huge challenge.”


For digital publishers, ad-blocking technology could potentially cost them more than $27 billion by the end of the decade, according to a recent Juniper Research report.

Plus at least 419 million people are now opting to block ads on the mobile web according to PageFair research; an area that creative ads have yet to truly be successful in, according to Unilever‘s chief marketing and communications officer, Keith Weed.

With Apple and mobile operators like Three of the U.K. embracing the ad-blocking era, ad revenues are becoming increasingly under threat for businesses, despite the amount of money spent to draw in online consumers.

Chief marketing officers of some of the biggest international brands tell CNBC that to take on the ad-blockers and win, companies should be listening to the consumer and putting them in the driving seat.

“I think we’re heading towards a world where content is about consumers opting in and your content has to be good enough for people wanting to see it and so creativity has never been more important in driving business performance,” Syl Saller, Diageo‘s chief marketing officer, told CNBC’s “Marketing.Media.Money“.

“What I mean by people opting in is people choosing to watch our ads, people not choosing to block them. Now that’s a big concern for the industry right now but I think it’s in on our hands to make the kind of content that people want to watch.”

“To make the kind of content that’s enjoyable or useful or entertaining. You have to be relevant to people in order to get seen and that’s certainly where we’re headed.”

As many news organizations rely on advertising to boost their revenue, media sources are starting to embrace native advertising, while advertising giants are also opting for product placement in films, TV shows and music videos to promote their brands in a less intrusive manner.

While Rajamannar sees native advertising and creating fresh content as great ways to entice the consumer, he doesn’t think marketers have yet fully ‘cracked the code’ where consumers want to truly embrace online adverts.

However MasterCard believes it has a potential solution on its hands: “experiential marketing,” whereby there’s a shift from storytelling to marketers becoming the story-makers, and the consumer has a part to play.

“Marketers would always say that we are good storytellers but now we are re-positioning ourselves as story makers, where the consumer is a part of the story. So experiential marketing is the big route that we’re taking.”

“And they in turn, the consumers who are experiencing these experiences become are advocates and they are doing the talking. And there are no ad-blocks to their talking, plus there is a lot more authenticity when somebody else is talking on your behalf than you talking about yourself.”