William Yates
William Yates 30 September 2015

Ad Blockers: Are Clients Victims Of Agency Creative Indifference?

Four main reasons why people want to block Internet advertising and how this can be avoided.

Back in the days of TV advertising, power utilities knew to ramp up the power grid during TV advertising slots on popular shows, as viewers left the TV room to make tea or coffee during the ad breaks.

I understand that in the depths of winter, power utilities had trouble shovelling in enough coal quickly enough to keep the kettles of Europe boiling during particularly popular show ad breaks!

Quality Of Thought

But there were still plenty of people who would watch the ads, as many of them were pretty creative and entertaining, and it is even documented the TV stations often received complaints from viewers when advertising quality was considered to be below standard.

There were also the vast, double-page car advertisements that would feature in national newspapers, covering two thousand words of finely crafted content on why you should buy an executive-level Ford car, or some other high value if not over-priced consumer aspiration.

And while these prime-time TV and double page spread ads were intrusive, they were also interesting to viewers and readers alike.

So, Why Do People Block Ads?

There are four main reasons for people wanting to block Internet advertising and below I cover how this can be avoided:

  1. Much Internet advertising is untargeted and therefore irrelevant to the visitor and often ignored – relevance drives engagement and investment in market research or the use of programmatic advertising systems pays dividends.

  2. Internet users are time poor and do not have the time to wait around for ads to load on target websites, and will often be gone before the site and its ads have fully loaded – better, slicker web design with fasted-loading content stops site visitor drop-out.

  3. The level of distraction caused by push-down and side-kick ads, with attention-sapping peripheral animatic advertising also detracts from visitor experience – these need to be better controlled and given residence well out of content areas.

  4. Quality: while the majority of Internet advertising is irrelevant to visitors due to poor strategy and targeting, even more of it is poorly thought out creative nonsense.


Much is unable to interest or engage visitors in any meaningful way – so commissioning an agency that understands you, your business and how to truly engage and interest visitors is critical to your success.


Unblocking Ad Blockers

So, there’s a lot to do if we don’t want ad blockers to become the norm, and it really falls to us in the digital marketing industry to get a grip on abiding marketing fundamentals and professional integrity.

Sure, there are cowboys out there who won’t get the above, but I guess there always were; what matters now is that we marketing professionals work even more effectively in educating prospects and clients in the difference between customer engagement and customer annoyance.

Ethics Works Both Ways

And there’s one final altruistic point: ad blockers give users the ability to visit Internet sites without viewing the advertising presented there. This is unfair on both site owner and advertiser as revenue will be lost and sites will no longer offer the free service they can presently.


So, if we don’t want an exclusive, elitist – and by extension, smaller – Internet where nobody can find information without paying for it, and loss of the exciting, vibrant and energetic buzz this will bring, then let’s get back to delivering effective creativity.

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