What is ad blocking? From the perspective of consumers, the prospect is win-win. Not only can they bypass content they didn't elect to see, but they can save on data costs by not loading it. However, for marketers, this can seem like a zero-sum game. It's easy to get frustrated by this behavior, but taking a hard look at where ad blocking is happening (and where it is going) can help you get in front of this growing trend.
What Is Ad Blocking?
Most marketers know that ad blocking is add-on software that users seek out and download with the intent of stopping display ads from loading on a requested page. While the concept is pretty straightforward, the "add-on" part of the equation is somewhat mystifying. Many consumers simply don't bother to seek out browser extensions, making it less of a pressing issue than some marketers might fear. In fact, data reported by Fortune shows that only 6 percent of Internet users around the world are actively blocking ads. Although that figure is low, the same report shows that ad blocking is on the rise, particularly among millennials.
The Mobile Safety Net
According to Fortune, among those who are blocking ads, only 2 percent are doing so on mobile devices. This might initially seem like good news, as mobile web usage is now outpacing desktop usage. And though marketers might be tempted to look at mobile as a safety net, that view might turn out to be a little short-sighted. Marketingland reports that up-and-coming browsers like Brave, intent on giving users back their browsing privacy, give marketers food for thought. It's clear that ad blocking is not going anywhere, so it's important to find workarounds.
Though there will always be a place for display advertising in the world of online marketing, as more consumers use ad blocking technology, it is important to diversify your strategy to get out in front of this growing concern. Native advertising in particular is a great way to get your message seen without being hindered by this technology.
Crafting ads for social media (especially Facebook) is also a great alternative, as many consumers use these networks' apps (which are immune to ad blocking) to access content. In fact VentureBeat reports that the average consumer spends 14 hours a month using the Facebook app alone, making advertising on Facebook a great alternative for marketers trying to dodge the effects of ad blockers on mobile.
While it's easy to feel a little nervous about ad blocking, keeping up with what this technology is, how it impacts your strategy, and how its evolving can help you diversify your marketing efforts accordingly.