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Ad blocking's rise reveals what marketers are getting wrong: Bank of America exec

NEW YORK ? Bank of America is steering away from an outdated, interruptive ad experience by connecting with consumers on social media, bringing valuable content to ongoing conversations, according to a company executive at the 2016 IAB Mobile Marketplace.

During the session, Brand-Building in Mobile: How Bank of America Is Reimagining Utility-Based Marketing, the executive detailed how Bank of America is able to establish itself as a useful and fitting content driver on social media within conversations that are already taking place to secure a positive relationship. It is important that marketers establish an experience similar to this, as the popularity of ad-blocking reveals that the interruptive pop-up ad experience is no longer working and will not help a brand positively connect to a mobile user. 

"You have to ask yourself, am I making these things because of precedent or am I making these things because I know for a fact consumers really want them," said Lou Paskalis, senior vice president of enterprise media at Bank of America. "That litmus test really helped us to get rid of areas we should not be focused on. 

"Ad-blocking is a massive signal to every one of us that our calculus is not working when we say we are going to create this big oversize ad, that is going to take a long time to load that is not connected to the experience people are having right now and we are going to inflict it on people," he said. "Well, they are fighting back. 

"I really think ad-blocking is the biggest problem facing this industry."

Forging social conversations 
Bank of America?s approach to social media allows it to be a valuable source of content to consumers with pop culture and important news references. For instance, on Twitter, the financial service brand shared a video of how it celebrates its employees with disabilities during Developmental Disabilities Month. 
While a conversation was already taking place on social media regarding disabilities during the month of March, Bank of America was able to join in with its own heartfelt message. The compelling video was able to capture users and establish a specific brand image. 

Partnering with news publishers is also big for Bank of America. The financial institution taps into its research and other resources to bring branded content to these online publishers. By sharing its own content, the brand is able to establish itself without the outdated interruptive ad experience. 

Less is more

Brands should stay away from joining the conversation without having something meaningful to say. Limiting messaging to strictly content that is valuable can really solidify that positive experience in the eyes of mobile users. 

"It is really about creating something relevant and something that consumers will care and share with their friends. That needs to be our litmus test," Mr. Paskalis said. 

"I think a lot of the rules from four or five years ago no longer apply," he said. "So take out a clean sheet of paper, what do we know about the consumer today and how do we create experiences that they are going to participate in that are not going to waste their time."