The amount of online consumers using advertisement-blocking services has reached an all time high.
Two hundred million people use AdBlock on their computers, with a similarly high amount using it on their phones, according to a report by Pagefair.
While advertising filters are giving everyday consumers more power over what they see online, they are also costing websites – and, by extension, businesses – billions of dollars in ad revenue.
AdBlock is an extension available on all popular browsers that removes advertising on webpages everywhere on the internet.
The extension applies a filter over every webpage visited, blocking all connections from advertising domains.
Users have the option to whitelist certain domains, which means the extension will not apply on those sites.
But what can businesses do to engage consumers who use ad blocking services?
A common technique is to ask readers to disable AdBlock on arrival to a website, with some businesses going as far as forcing the user to disable it in order to see content.
Another method is to plead with users but these tactics can make you look desperate.
However, new ways of advertising are beginning to emerge across the web.
One example is native advertising, where the ad takes the form of an article or page that would normally be seen on the website.
Director of software practice at the University of Western Australia, Dr David Glance, spoke to SmartCompany about the rise of native advertising.
“Native ads, such as what’s littered through Apple’s News app and the Facebook app, have become a big thing, and we have to see a response to these ads soon,” Glance says.
Streaming giant Netflix ran a series of these in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, promoting its web series Narcos and Orange is the New Black.
The advertising for Narcos took the form of an article telling the story of cocaine as a business and appeared alongside standard articles in the publication.
It’s clear online advertising needs to change its tune to survive, reinforced by AdBlock’s “acceptable ads” manifesto.
This manifesto describes the qualities advertisements need to adhere by in order not to be blocked.
The guidelines say ads should not distort a page, should not have autoplay sound or video, and be appropriate for the site they are displayed on.
Glance says online advertising is changing rapidly, and both businesses and advertisers need to be prepared.
“Fundamentally there’s still the major problem of how people make money, they need to find alternative business ideas,” Glance says.
“These days, people are prepared to pay two dollars to get an add-free app.”