During the last couple of years, internet consumers throughout the world have begun questioning the importance and relevance of digital marketing campaigns, due to the ever-increasing number of low-quality and intrusive ads. This oversaturation has led to the appearance and quick popularity growth of ad-blocking software, capable of modifying web pages to ensure that users aren’t shown video, pop-up and banner ads.
As part of this article, we will explore the main reasons why internet users use ad-blockers, the overall impact of ad-blockers on advertisers throughout the world, and what can be done to ensure that all parties are satisfied. The discussions will all be backed by a couple of interesting facts on digital marketing trends to further accentuate our point-of-view.
What’s with the hate against ads?
Well, it’s not actually a hate per se, but rather a dislike of ads that fit within several categories. These are:
Ads that are low-quality, and fail to bring value to users
Unfortunately, low-effort ads have grown abundant on the web, mostly due to businesses choosing to hire cheap designers who fail to understand the intricacies of quality ad design, and would rather shell out a larger number of designs, instead of higher-quality work.
In this category, we can also include ads that promote low-quality products, or those which advertise scammy products and services. The abundance of these ads has decreased the trustworthiness of the online advertising market in the eyes of consumers.
Ads that intrude and interrupt user experience
This type of ads has become more popular in recent years, and at this time, can be found anywhere, especially in the market of mobile devices where numerous games intrerupt gameplay to play ads. While it is understandable that free mobile games come with this disadvantage, some apps tend to overdo it.
Ads that disrupt the experience of watching internet videos is another perfect fit for this category. Online video sharing platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have both integrated a slight oversaturation of ads that interrupt user experience, thus leading to a heightened dislike of these ads.
There’s no point in mentioning that making an ad unskippable for its entire duration (or a couple of seconds) further promotes the use of ad-blockers. After all, the logic is simple. Why waste minutes watching irrelevant ads on a daily basis when you can take a few seconds to install an ad-blocker?
Ads that slow down web performance of websites or create privacy concerns
Targeted ads are basically browser scripts that work in the background to identify user behaviour, for the purpose of serving them the right ads. These have been around for a while, yet their complexity has grown over the last couple of years. Nowadays, many of these ads slow down website loading speeds, thus provoking frustration on the user side. 33% of users adblock because of this reason.
Additionally, with the EU’s GDPR laws, users know how advertisers leverage user data to track their online behavior in order to serve better ads. This has led to increasing privacy concerns over the entire digital advertising market. In fact, 26% of people use ad-blocking in fear that ads might compromise online privacy.
The impact of ad blockers on the advertising industry
Firstly, ad blockers do not only influence the advertising industry, but rather connex markets as well. For instance, website owners are actively losing revenue since users refuse to click on ads, whereas businesses are finding it more difficult to promote their products on the digital ecosystem.
At this moment, it is estimated that around 1 in 3 internet users leveraged an ad-blocker to enhance their browsing experience. To put things better into perspective, billions of dollars are lost on a yearly basis due to ad-blocking software. It is believed that U.S. publishers lose at least 10% of possible revenue, whereas publishers in other countries or those who have tech-savvy readers lose at least 50% of potential ad revenue.
Researchers are hard at work, attempting to identify the exact impact of ad-blocking software across each market in particular, but overall, we are dealing with over $100 billion so far.
So what can advertisers do to mitigate these losses?
Several publishers have begun implementing ad-proof scripts within their websites, which are meant to only allow users that have shut down their blockers to access content. This approach works, yet it’s not appreciated by ad-block users, since increased frustration can encourage them to simply exit the website. Rather, publishers and advertisers should understand that future digital marketing trends do offer a couple of solutions to this problem.
Here are several surefire ways of decreasing the impact of ad-blocking on your business, while also improving the quality and efficiency of your digital marketing campaign:
- Reconsider your current ad-practices and eliminate any of which you would find overly annoying such as intrusive ads, fake pop-ups, unskippable ads, etc. For instance, 81% of internet users have reported instantly exiting a website because of an annoying pop-up ad.
- Hire professional ad designers who have vision and are capable of crafting high-quality ads that bring value to the user. Ads should actively take user experience into account.
- Consider your ethics as an advertiser. Therefore, do not promote products/websites/services that are scammy or bound to trick users into handing their money.
- Look into alternative marketing strategies like video, social events, quality branded content, press coverage, search engine marketing, product placement, email marketing, viral marketing, online influencers, etc. While your actual ad revenue will fall, the number of conversions, impressions and overall impact of alternative strategies will likely make up for the difference, thus increasing overall profitability and brand awareness.
Remember that ad blockers discover brands via the following channels, ordered from high to low: search engines, TV ads, word-of-mouth, online ads, TV shows, brand websites, social media comments, review sites, mobile ads, and in-store ads.
Living with Ad-Blockers as a Marketing Professional
An important aspect to keep in mind when brainstorming the future of your advertising campaigns is that 77% of internet consumers stated that they’d switch to an ad-filter if available, instead of a fully fledged ad-blocker that removes advertising entirely.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, ad-blockers do not represent the doom of the digital advertising industry. Rather, this software is nothing but a challenge for marketers and publishers to innovate in their industries by crafting smarter, better and overall less intrusive advertisements.
Josh Wardini, Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at SERPWatch. With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies. When his focus trails outside of community engagement, Josh enjoys the indulgences of writing amidst the nature conservations of Portland, Oregon.