Five ways to fight ad blocking

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.

Keep experimenting

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:best things arnt freesorry

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.


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Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien
5 years ago

not one ad/virus network can be trusted.

Host your own ad on your site or take responsibility and accountability for the ad/virus networks that you subject the user to.

web site owners need to take the responsibility for there ad/virus networks they use and any 3rd party scripts that are used, BUT NO they will not do that so should we take the risk ?

I do not trust ad/virus networks. They have been given too many chances over the years so now all blocked at router lvl and host files and plugins on each devices.

Browsing without an adblocker is like fu*king without a condom. You should only do it with someone you really, really trust and no just any hoe

Internet advertising is a group of STDs.

Ad blocking is a condom.

D. John Carlson
D. John Carlson
5 years ago



Software designed to block advertising from appearing on websites is becoming increasingly common. There was a 69% growth in adblocking between 2013 1nd 2014, and all indications are that this growth has continued. In some countries, in 2016 adblocking has grown by 134%. In some countries, 24% of the population are now using adblocking technology.

Businesses with business models dependent on website advertising revenue have been addressing this by way of technology. But of course, as fast as they develop technology to counter adblocking software, the faster the adblockers develop new software. It is apparent that both sides will continue this battle, and only time will see the outcome revealed.

For now, it would appear that adblocking is here to stay. At the same time, the trend towards online advertising continues with increasing speed. So – how can advertisers address these conflicting trends?

Some – including advertising agencies – might suggest that the answer lies in a return to traditional advertising involving outdoor, radio, television and press. However, while outdoor will continue to grow, and radio seems to be holding its own in terms of audiences, the audiences for television and the readership of press continue to decline – and may well decline faster in the next 2-3 years than over the last 2-3 years.

For advertising agencies, many of which lack the range and depth of expertise required, this may lead to real issues. Better and better creative executions will simply not cut it – if the advertising cannot be seen or heard at all.

For more competent marketers, however, adblocking will just mean a change of orientation and/or approach. It will lead to:

– An overdue orientation towards getting other aspects of the marketing mix right – including creating a product with service, ease of access, and a price that generates sales in addition to encouraging repeat business and referrals. The old story about word of mouth being the most important source of business needs to become true.

– An increase in the use of alternative strategies, including content marketing (or more broadly native marketing) and inbound marketing (or more broadly permission marketing).

Repeat business and referral represent the most important and underrated drivers of business. They are not at all dependent on communication and, in particular, advertising. Repeat business and referral are driven by a combination of product, price, service, and access.

Content marketing is one of the fastest growing areas of marketing because, if approached well, it adds to the customer experience, and is much more effective than advertising in building a brand. Native advertising including advertorial, video and sponsored content, not only get around adblocking but can also add to the customer experience and brand building process.

Inbound and permission marketing turns focus toward establishing long term relationships with a defined market instead of focusing all attention on selling the same product to more people – shifting the attention to selling more product to the same people.

Adblocking is a threat to advertising and advertising agencies without the required expertise, but it is not the end of the story. It means going back to the basics of marketing, and addressing new modes of communication.


1. Despite the trend towards online advertising, adblocking will be an increasing threat to online advertising.

2. Returning to core principles is the first step in addressing this technology.

3. Developing expertise in alternatives such as content marketing and permission marketing will also be essential.