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Why References Work Better Than Classic Vanilla Ads Is this the Future of Non-Blockable Advertising? Here's what smart businesses aren't telling you about their marketing strategy

By Rustam Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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As much as businesses and startup owners would like to think otherwise, nobody in their right frame of mind likes advertisements in their entertainment or news, no matter how brilliantly designed. Whether it's the invention of TiVo (a digital video recorder which enables viewers to skip through advertisements on live TV), paying a premium charge for online streaming minus ads, or using elaborate ad blockers on our computers as well as cell phones, the average consumer is now smarter than before and relentless to get rid of ads. Further, ad blockers tempt the average consumer especially India's slow bandwidth users with the temptation of a much faster and a cleaner browsing experience, and despite the loss of ad revenue for businesses, are perfectly legal. In a bid to avoid this situation completely, smart advertisers or businesses are now shifting their focus towards influencers and references instead of classic banner, text or flash ads. Instead of forcing the viewer to view or click an advertisement, references enable users to willingly and curiously view one.

This is how it works

Influencers are really popular social media celebrities that use their fan base (or friends) to give reviews, in text, videos or other digital platforms. Companies approach them using an Intermediary, such as the upcoming Pulpkey (more mainstream where influencers get paid in cash in exchange of promotional posts to their audience) aim to achieve. Influencers aren't told to only do promotions, so they can post whatever content they usually post – which keeps the fan base strong since nobody wants only sponsored posts in their timeline. It's a win-win for everyone!

Here are top reasons why you should consider influencers rather than classic advertisements for your startup:

Influencers are literally unstoppable

Unlike all audio/video/flash/multimedia ads on the internet, influencer ads are immune to any kind of ad blockers; no matter how well the blocker is programmed. Influencers come from safe spaces, people or websites disguised or paid to look like genuine unbiased reviews, experiences and thus encourage the audience to voluntarily click the link and view the advertisement.

Organic seduction

Influencers are completely organic. There is often no reference of the video, text review or sponsored post being a paid advertisement. They average user is unable to distinguish between an ad and genuine review and are smoothly seduced by its seemingly genuine appearance. The seduction process is so subtle that a direct in-your-face-advertisement simply cannot achieve.

Instant feedback and measurement

Unlike traditional web ads that only determine views or clicks on the product or service you're advertising, influencer work on social media –a platform where everyone rants their heart out. This means if the advertisement/influenced post is brilliant, the comments and shares would be instantly viral, and vice versa. You can get live monitoring of engagements, impressions, views, tweets and re-tweets, shares on social media on your content instantly.

Word of publicity is the best publicity

A billion giant banners cannot achieve the amount of curiosity or interest that one friend's word of mouth can do. Smart businesses exploit this to target the most influencer social media celebrities to give them a review. If they're willing to follow the rule that "any publicity is good publicity" they can even allow negative reviews. That way influencers can brag about being unbiased, and the feedback is more original.

Minimal cost vs specifically targeted audience reception

Influencers work at a fraction of the cost of running a giant banner advertisement. Yet reach a specified target audience. Your costs don't go to consumers who don't require your product or service – they reach an audience that voluntarily researched and arrived at your ad because he/she is genuinely interested in it.

Do you have a better advertising strategy? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Rustam Singh


Tech reporter.

Contact me if you have a truly unique technology related startup looking for a review and coverage, especially a crowd-funded project looking to launch and coverage.

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