Ad blockers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for internet users around the world. According to Adobe and PageFair, there are an estimated 198 million ad blocker users worldwide, which is a 41% increase from a year ago. One in ten users in the US and UK have some kind of ad blocking software.
Where did this come from?
Some feel that the current approach to digital advertising needs to be reexamined. Business practices for television or print can often include frequent repetition of images and videos around audiences. When this translated to the online advertising world, it became apparent that these ads can often feel invasive to the user experience. Ad blocking is a symptom of a system that needs to clean up its act.
With the increased use of smartphones for internet use, overly intrusive ads are becoming an increasingly hot topic. Sites with data-sucking video ads increase the time and cost for mobile viewing, which is driving mobile users, especially millennials, away from their sites.
When we factor in spotty cellular service, overloaded public Wi-Fi networks and the cost of data plans, ad blockers can feel like a necessity for a functional experience. Some ads are so disruptive that they practically chase people into the arms of ad blocker companies.
What are the impacts?
Ad blockers are positioned to have a serious impact for online advertising. For sites that depend on pay per click ads to fund them, ad blockers pose a serious question towards their ability to keep the content free of charge. Some sites are choosing to only allow users without ad blocking software, while others are still considering the problem.
Can advertisers and users meet in the middle?
A middle ground is being developed, such as with the Acceptable Ads Program. This program aims to enhance the user experience with the inclusion of ads that match specific criteria, such as:
- Acceptable Ads are not annoying.
- Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read.
- Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.
- Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.
- Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.
There are several other new programs and strategies on the horizon as well. Some companies are simply educating their audiences, requesting them to allow ads in order to keep the sites free. Google recently announced its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which allows ads for mobile devices, but only permits them in specific formats so that they don’t slow down page loading or eat up data. LEAN is another initiative, for keeping things “light, encrypted, ad-choice supported and non-invasive”.
This evolution of online advertising gives advertisers an opportunity and a challenge: create ads and product placements that are enjoyable, relevant and enhance the user experience. It’s an opportunity to clear out a lot of the online advertising “clutter” and create a lighter, cleaner landscape for engaging with our audiences in a meaningful way.
If you’re ready for fresh ideas that your clients will love seeing, you’re ready to talk with us! Contact us today to find out how we can create advertising that your audience will love!