Ad blocking has gone mainstream, and is, undeniably, becoming a serious concern for many publishers, ad agencies, advertisers, and brands worldwide, especially those who market to a younger audience.
In a recent study conducted by Adobe and PageFair, the estimated global cost of ad blocking will reach $41.4 billion by 2016 as a result of the increasing number of active adblock users approaching 200 million.
The year-on-year use of ad blocking software grew by 41%, according to the report.
What exactly are ad blockers?
Ad blockers, also known as content blockers, started out as simple programs added by web browsers to prevent ads from showing to web users. Current browsers supporting ad blockers include Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
Now, ad blocking has expanded into mobile browsing, with Apple jumping onto the adblocker bandwagon early this year.
Will ad blocking kill the digital display advertising market?
We highly doubt that. However, the fact remains that consumers are increasingly opting to use ad blocking apps to avoid ads. If you are a small business doing digital advertising, you should be concerned.
Ad blocking could affect your conversion rate and social reach. Soon you will need to pay more just so your ads can get a free pass from ad blockers.
What can you do?
Raise your creative game
To fight ad blocking, create better ads. The key is to stay relevant by increasing the quality of your advertising. Think: better copywriting and rich images/visuals. Also, connect with your audience by providing the information they need real-time as they ride the train or whilst they wind down for the evening.
There is no format safe from ad blocking. At least, none that we know of. So, explore ways to serve up ads to your audience. Aside from format, also experiment on placement and size. Finally, don’t forget to measure and compare results.
Ask your audience
There’s nothing wrong with asking your users to disable their ad blockers. Some of them might not even be aware they are using one. Others just need to read a convincing spiel that will make them want to see your ads. Create different copy and experiment with phrasing to see if there’s a tone that works better for you. What works will vary depending on your audience (e.g. humorous and irreverent copy usually works for millennials).Here are some samples:
Improving the technology
Reduce your site’s slow load times. Improving the technology used to deliver ads will definitely make a difference. Remember those short attention spans that could not wait for your page to load. Don’t make it harder for them see your ads.
Invest in remarketing
Remarketing is about focusing on bottom line metrics such as conversions. By focusing on remarketing, you are ensuring that your campaigns are not just potentially reaching the right people, but the right people who are more likely to convert further down the funnel. Focus on clicks and conversions, not impressions.
Don’t throw your hands up yet. Although dealing with ad blockers is certainly not a walk in the park, there are still ways to avoid losing your ad revenue to them. Start with ending your sloppy advertising. Take ad blocking as challenge to be more creative and precise with your targeting.
Take the time to test and try different type of formats and copy and stay one step ahead of ad blockers.
Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.
You can help us (and help yourself)
Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.
That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.
Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany supporter.
Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.