The Growing Threat of Ad Blocker: Protecting Performance

Post by Amber Kim, Group Account Director

Ad blocking is quickly becoming a hot topic in the digital industry. Technology companies, such as Apple, have recently enabled features that allow for easy ad blocking on mobile devices. A recent report from Adobe and PageFair (an Irish start-up that tracks ad blocking) projected that such software could lead to $22 billion in lost ad revenue this year. While this only accounts for a small percentage of total Internet users worldwide, ad blocking growth is very much on the rise, with the U.S. seeing a 48% spike in ad blocker users last year (Mashable, 2015).

The Rise of Ad Blocker

According to Mashable, there are two main reasons for the growth in ad blocking: (1) ad blocking software is easy to use and install and (2) there is an overall unease surrounding security concerns and personal data collection.

Just last month, hackers used Yahoo’s ad network to send malicious files to users by exploiting a Flash vulnerability. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and savvy around data collection, often sparked by the abundance of remarketing advertising, and are preferring to browse in anonymity.

 What Can Advertisers Do?

The days of high-impact, obnoxious ads that clutter screens, block content and slow down processing speeds are gone. Internet users are simply tired of the over-abundance of ads in the content sites they consume and can avoid ads with relatively simple means, via ad blocker.

It’s the responsibility of advertisers and agencies to rethink their brand’s digital advertising strategies. Providing the right consumers with tailored, personalized messaging will help cut the clutter and promote products and services that will be most relevant to each individual:

  • Brands need to develop robust measurement strategies to understand engagement and optimize appropriately to identifying spaces where ads will perform best
  • Native advertising strategies should be a focus, where brand messaging can co-exist with editorial content. This is a promising way to serve ad messaging in a relevant way.
  • Advertise in apps to find users who may have blocked ads. Advertisers can move mobile ad dollars to Facebook, Twitter and other in-app mobile networks.

What Does the Future Hold?

While ad blocking won’t single-handedly bring down digital advertising, it’s important to keep consumer concerns top-of-mind when developing digital strategies. While there’s buzz surrounding future technologies that will block ad blockers, developers are proceeding cautiously to not upset consumers that simply don’t want to view ads.

For brands that are seeing a noticeable drop in performance, particularly on mobile devices, new strategies for incremental reach and sales might be in order. Advertisers need to harness the endless consumer data they have available at their fingertips to create effective strategies that will continue to perform despite the growth in ad blocker popularity.

For more information regarding ad blockers and performance, please contact your performance account team today


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