Article

Angela Southall
Angela Southall 17 October 2016

The Rise of Ad Blockers: What Does It Mean For Brands?

Ad blocking software has rapidly emerged as a major, well... blocker to brand and publisher revenue streams in the past couple of years. What does this mean for the way brands communicate to their customers?

Consider this statistic: last year, there was an 82% annual increase in the number of UK internet users adopting ad blockers on a monthly basis, according to a report by PageFair. The report warns that by next year, the global loss of revenue because of ad blocking could reach $41.4bn (£26.8bn). An IAB report shows similarly disconcerting trends around growing consumer distrust of online ads.

Indeed, such findings represent major alarm bells for publishers and advertisers, alike. Advertising has long been a bedrock of media outlet revenue models. And obviously, brands need to advertise. So if large swathes of these businesses are to avoid being crippled into non-existence, how do they respond?

Well, many publishers have already been fighting back.

The counter ad blocking kick back

Many publishers have taken what they deem to be necessary action to counteract the increasing uptake of ad blockers. That is, they’ve developed their very own ad blocker detection software, which in some cases will prevent the user from viewing a piece of content until they ‘white list’ the site in question.

Forbes is one such example…

20161003_Forbes_Ad_Blocker.png

The Guardian is another major player that’s taken a slightly more nuanced approach. It doesn’t prevent anyone from viewing content, instead opting for a banner message that encourages readers to consider a regular small donation to essentially compensate them for the loss of advertising revenue that their ad blocker has caused…

20161003_Guardian_Ad-Blockers-(1).png

But is this kind of ‘blocking the ad blocking’ tactic an adequate or sustainable strategy for solving the real problem in hand: namely, the fact that consumers completely distrust and dislike the ads they’re being served? That in the digital age, customers want and expect better from brands? Perhaps, not.

The consumer message to publishers and advertisers is loud and clear message: we don’t like what you’re serving us. Do better. Rather than taking this on board and innovating new models of revenue generation that are more trustworthy and acceptable in the eyes of the consumer, initial responses from publishers are essentially punitive warning shots, entrenched in the status quo.If you don't behave as we want you to, punishment is in order.

There is perhaps a better way forward, focussed on providing relevant, personalised experiences, that build consumer trust.

It’s time to empathise with, not fight against, the consumer’s needs and preferences

Bloomberg Media managing director Adam Freeman said it best recently in an interview with The Drum, stating:

“We have to be honest with ourselves: if you work in the advertising industry, there is something wrong if we are creating products that consumers are actively deciding to turn off… nobody actually embraces advertising, but now with digital media we have to understand that audiences have more control than ever before and ad blocking is a phenomenon that is not going away.”

Perhaps the largest digital publisher there is, Facebook, has been leading the charge on finding a new monetisation “middle ground”, which offers a viable profit stream for the publisher on the one hand, whilst delivering a palatable experience for the consumer on the other side of the screen. Its recent algorithm changes were seen as a major shift in power to the user’s hands, with greater ability to personalise and control the topics, volumes and nature of incoming ads on the platform.

Of course, in the digital age, paid advertising shouldn’t be viewed as the be all and end all, for brands. A whole new landscape of methods for connecting and building relationships with audiences has emerged that transcend the old “push” model of marketing and advertising.

From content marketing — regularly publishing timely, relevant, personalised content, specifically targeted at resonating with the interests, problems and needs of target customers — right through to embracing the power of online word of mouth via refer a friend programmes, what’s clear is that brands need to look beyond paid advertising, and embrace a more nuanced, multifaceted approach to building audiences.

What’s beyond doubt is that the brands set to prosper in the coming years, are unlikely to be those concentrating efforts on ‘blocking the ad blockers’, but those who shift resources and mindset towards creating relevant, personalised interactions and experiences that their prospective consumers want.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Predictions for the Future of SEO

Predictions for the Future of SEO

Unless you’re a search engine optimization expert, odds are you’re not familiar with what awaits the SEO strategy in the future. Media marketing is constantly changing and therefore marketing strategies have to conform and adapt in order to stay on track.

Tony Solomon
Tony Solomon 18 July 2017
Read more
Best Practices For Building 404 Pages With Killer UX Design

Best Practices For Building 404 Pages With Killer UX Design

No one likes 404 page! A visitor could find himself on a 404 page for a couple of reasons such as a mistyped address, bad link appearing from somewhere else, deleted page or content moved somewhere else and so more. Interestingly enough, these annoying pages can delight you to the point you don’t mind the dead link.

Jane Reyes
Jane Reyes 11 July 2017
Read more
Designing For Mobile: Consider It’s Mobility First

Designing For Mobile: Consider It’s Mobility First

The rise in numerous wearable devices such as smart watches, sensors has led to 360° transformations of the entire landscape of designing. All the devices under “Internet Of Things (IoT)” umbrella are bringing a new complexity to our field.

Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel 11 July 2017
Read more