The Internet has become a strategic place that advertisers can take advantage of to deliver targeted messaging. Advertisers are rushing to promote their products and services through online ads in a variety of ways. However, there has been an increase in ad blockers’ use by users that block ads, especially on webpages.
Ad-block software can prevent the display of pop-ups and auto-play video ads. According to Adobe, ad-blocking software has exponentially increased from $21 million in 2010 to approximately $181 million in 2020. Apple’s recent decision to allow ad blockers to run on its latest smartphone is bound to increase this figure. Hence, ad blockers have created significant financial and marketing problems for online advertisers and publishers.
Why do people use ad blockers?
Intrusive ads are one of the primary reasons why users adopt ad blockers. Such ads mainly include pop up and video ads that disrupt or block user access to the content. These ads can be long and often challenging to mute or skip.
Thus, the user browsing experience is negatively affected. This also leads to slower browsing speed as pages take longer to load, driving up mobile data costs. Therefore, ad blockers not only improve the browsing experience but are also cost-effective.
Privacy concerns have become increasingly important in the digital space. Users do not like the prospect of targeted ads based on their personal information. People do not want third parties to access their own information.
Therefore, personalized ads are often seen as an invasion of one’s privacy and security. Ad blockers guard users against unverified third parties accessing our personal and sensitive information.
Ad blockers are gaining currency among internet users of all ages. However, individual segments are more likely to use them:
Young tech-savvy people between the ages of 25-34 are the primary users of ad-blocking tools on webpages and mobile apps. They have a higher level of understanding about the structures of the digital space and, thus, they are also more concerned about privacy issues than older demographics. Moreover, this age group also has a shorter attention span and is less tolerant of ads on webpages and videos that cannot be skipped.
Men are 36% more likely to use an ad-block tool as compared to women. Moreover, urban users are 21% more like to use ad blockers than internet users in rural areas.
The Impact of ad blockers
Advertisers will experience the negative consequences of the current trend. They will have a difficult time running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns on web pages and mobile apps, as their ads will not be viewed by the user who has an ad blocker. A report by Adobe estimates that advertisers are set to incur losses of approximately $40 million.
Publishers will also face losses that might affect their operations, as operational costs of webpages are mostly covered through the website’s advertising revenue. The advertisers will likely look for different avenues to market their products to bypass the ad blocker. Therefore, webpages might experience shortfalls in its revenue generated through PPC ads.
Innovation in the advertisement industry is likely given that ad blockers are continuing to gain popularity. Advertisers are likely to opt for different ways to market their products. For example, influencer marketing has become an excellent platform for advertisers. It allows them to cash in on the popularity of social media influencers and gain an air of authenticity about their product through the influencer.
There is little doubt that ad blockers are enhancing user experience better by removing unnecessary ads from online experiences. Despite the advertisers’ concerns, ad blockers can trigger innovation in the advertisement industry, as advertisers try to find new and creative ways to market their products.