This year, we're seeing a rise in online users using advert blockers. We have a closer look at the stats about ad blocking and discuss the best ways to beat internet ad blockers.
Ad Blocking in the news
Three introduces mobile ad blocking
Last month, the European mobile network, Three announced its intentions to block online advertising.
Three is working with a company called Shine that specialises in blocking mobile advertising. They will be trialling the advert blocking system and if it's successful, they will begin rolling it out across the network. This means Three customers won't be interrupted by adverts when they're searching online.
Apple internet ad-blocker extension
Three isn't the first company to announce its decision to block ads. In September 2015, Apple introduced new ad-blocker extensions to Safari on iPhones and iPads. This was great news for online users - they could stop companies from harassing them with ads.
However this wasn't great news for businesses who depend on advertising.
Benefits of ad blockers for online users
- Faster page loading
- Removes distracting content or images
- Less interruptions when searching online
- Safer online searching
- More privacy online (the rise in ad blocking is partly due to millenials who have concerns about their privacy).
The impact of ad blocking for businesses
Whilst there are many benefits to user experience, there are obvious negatives for publishers and marketers who rely on them.
In the news, there has been notable criticism against internet ad blockers.
Digicel, who was the first mobile network to block adverts, has attracted criticism from regulators who believe Digicel's actions are unlawful.
Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus, has faced major criticism for accepting payments from Microsoft and Google to allow ads to get through their ad-blocking software.
The idea of ad blockers is not new, they've been around for years but this year there has certainly been more talk in the news as mobile networks and companies are looking to use ad blockers.
What some businesses have done to fight ad blockers
Yahoo! tried to block users from accessing their Mail account if they were using advert blockers. This notably backfired, with Yahoo users announcing on social media they were going to stop using Yahoo! Mail.
Other websites like The Washington Post have blocked users from accessing their site if they have ad blockers.
Ad Block stats
A 2015 report claims only 16% of online users in the US use ad blockers. Although this number seems small at the moment, it's obvious there is some concern for businesses who rely on advertising.
The same report estimated ad blocking will cost publishers about $22 billion in 2015.
How you can get around ad blocking
Currently, ad blocking is a small trend but it has been growing rapidly in the last eighteen months.
In the UK, the number of people using ad blocking in 2016 has risen to 22%. In October 2015, this was 18%.
Whilst these stats might cause unease, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
In the 2016 IAB study, whilst they saw a rise in people blocking ads, they found over half of people using ad blocking software were willing to turn off their block to access content.
Good content can encourage visitors to deactivate blockers
This statistic shows people are willing to turn off their ad blockers in exchange for something valuable.
This is familiar to the inbound marketing methodology, which proves consumers are more willing to give information in exchange for premium information or free services.
Some publishers, like The Guardian, are asking users who ad blockers to deactivate their ad blockers or donate to the site. Websites that have valuable content and a strong following will be able to encourage visitors to deactivate ad blocks, in exchange for seeing their content.
By creating a website that has a collection of helpful and up-to-date information, you can ask visitors to deactivate their ad blockers. Online visitors need to feel like they're getting something in return for temporarily disabling their blockers.
Create inbound-y ads
With the rise of more users using advert blockers, businesses started signing an 'acceptable ads manifesto': which describes how some ad blocking software companies should allow some ads through. We understand spam adverts are a nuisance and interrupt user experience. However ad blocks shouldn't block all types of ads.
The 'acceptable ads manifesto' suggests ads that are not annoying, do not disrupt page content, are transparent, are effective and appropriate for the site - should not be blocked.
From the manifesto's proposal, it sounds like they're describing inbound-y ads.
What is an inbound-y ad? Inboundy adverts are ads that follow the inbound methodology, they are useful for online visitors, they're relevant and they fulfil the needs of the visitor.
Creating helpful and relevant adverts can increase your chances of stopping your adverts from being blocked. And, they make your ads more powerful. As more online users are going to be using ad blockers, there will be less people seeing your ads, you need to make your adverts as engaging as possible to achieve the best results.
There are other ways you can help safeguard your future advertising:
- Create smart adverts: adverts that can't be regarded as spam. They need to be helpful and engaging .
- Adverts need to be professional made: again, if they look like spam, they'll be treated as spam.
- Faster loading ads: stick to making smaller or use friendly page loading features.
Whilst many publishers and marketers are fretting about the future of ad blocking, many of them aren't doing anything about it. Improve your adverts by making them inbound-y and create a website filled with valuable content that encourages visitors to disengage their blockers.
Other news you may find interesting:
- Google gives deadline of 16 May to submit GTINs
- Google has removed sidebar ads in Google Search: Find out what this means for SEO & PPC
- Google hires new Head of Search from AI Department
- What #RIPTwitter means and the changes to Twitter's Newsfeed
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