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Monday, 11 January 2016 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

In a move that could have serious repercussions for digital advertising and perhaps a positive effect on direct mail, one of Europe’s largest Internet service providers and mobile operators, EE has announced plans to investigate the introduction of software that will enable its customers to block advertising content that they consider inappropriate or unwanted. In a £2 billion mobile advertising market, that could create a major upheaval in the way that brands target today’s tech-savvy consumers.

EE has launched the strategic review to decide whether it should help its customer base of over 29 million users restrict the quantity and type of advertising that reaches their devices, citing concerns about the intrusive practices of some advertisers.

They plan to look at introducing software that will block adverts in apps such as banners that pop up on top of pages or videos that start playing automatically and perhaps even hand customers control over the volume of advertising that reaches their devices. There is already a range of software available to users enabling them to control advertising, apps such as AdBlocker, AdGuard and Privoxy will stop banners and videos appearing, but EE now is planning to enter the fray. Olaf Swantee, the EE CEO said “For EE, this is not about ad blocking, but about starting an important debate around customer choice, controls and the level of ads customers receive.”

Of course cynics might also think that it has something to do with wanting to grab a share in the advertising revenue stream directed at their customers. After all mobile operator Digicell in the Caribbean has announced plans to introduce a near blanket ban on advertising to their customers, unless companies like Google pay an access fee.

In another move Yahoo has started to discourage users of its mail service from using ad-blocking software by refusing them access to their mailboxes while the software is running.

All of this could be good news for those involved in direct mail, which has a much more mature business model for brands and manufacturers than Internet marketing. Firstly the physical material will connect more directly to the recipient than a transient e-message. A well-crafted, personalised, printed and finished piece will have a longer lasting impact on the recipient.

Secondly, arguably a direct mail item can be better targeted than more global digital advertising – despite Google’s best efforts. And thirdly, consumers have regularly stated in polls that they prefer printed direct mail from companies they trust rather than unsolicited emails and banner advertising.

Statistics re direct mail printing from infographic by Baker Goodchild

Direct mail stats from infographic by Baker Goodchild

Landa and Highcon Create Tough Competition for Digital Advertising

There’s a lot at stake here and we can be sure that the likes of Google, Facebook, Yahoo and EE will continue to strive to develop digital marketing. But print is not sitting back. Developments such as the Nanography® process will bring many of the benefits of digital to mainstream printing and companies such as Highcon are showing how the same can be applied to finishing. There is a long way to go, but print remains a strong alternative to digital advertising.

Cards featuring Highcon’s digital finishing

Cards cut and creased using Highcon’s revolutionary digital finishing technology

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Landa S10 - Printing Press