UNICEF Circumvents Ad Blocking With Call to Action – Wall Street Journal
Marketers aren’t the only ones concerned about the rise of online ad blocking. Non-profit organizations like UNICEF that do advocacy and fundraising through Web ads are worried too.
“When people start blocking ads it makes it harder for us to reach out with our messages,” said Jim Carlberg, Marketing Manager at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Sweden. “For us it’s concerning people are blocking out the world and messages that they might need to hear.”
With that in mind, UNICEF Sweden has been experimenting with ways to circumvent ad blockers, and says it has enjoyed some early success.
In October, the U.N. organization partnered with creative agency Edelman Deportivo to place “unblockable” ads on the website of Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Users that visited the site with ad blocking enabled were greeted with a message on the site that read, “Children’s rights should never be blocked. Help us make their voices heard. Sign up for children’s right to complain here.”
According to Edelman Deportivo, the message was clicked by 3% of users that saw it over the course of a week, which it said is significantly higher than the average click-through rate for banners in Sweden. Of those users that clicked on the ad, 10% signed up on the UNICEF site.
“Not only did the audience who actively chose to say no to all ads click on the banner. They did so in a frequency three times higher than the regular audience who still says yes to ads,” a statement from the agency said.
From a technical perspective, the UNICEF ad was still visible to ad-blocking users because it was hard-coded into the Dagens Nyheter site itself, therefore avoiding the use of ad tags, tracking scripts and other elements ad blockers typically identify.
UNICEF’s Mr. Carlberg said the campaign was intended to make a statement about children’s rights, but also to help the organization figure out how to best catch the attention of ad-blocking users. In that respect, he said UNICEF learned a lesson some marketers might benefit from, too.
“What we think is most interesting is this comes to prove if you have relevant messages with the right context then people are interested in hearing what you have to say,” Mr. Carlberg said.
Write to Jack Marshall at Jack.Marshall@wsj.com