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.
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.
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.
Whilst there are many benefits to user experience, there are obvious negatives for publishers and marketers who rely on them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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