Usually, I don’t write this type of content but this is a huge issue in our industry.
Currently, there is a tremendous fear that ad-blockers are going to wipe out display ads.
Several of you have been emailing me & pinging me on Skype me since the release of iOS 9 and the ability to simply block ads on any site.
Now ad blockers are nothing new, in fact, I’ve been using one since 2007…
However, the growth of using ad blockers has grown substantially in the last few years.
- Ad blocking estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.
- There are now 198 million active adblock users around the world.
- Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months.
- US ad blocking increased by 48% to reach 45 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
- UK ad blocking rose by 82% to reach 12 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
Just as it sounds Ad Blockers allow users to block ads that would normally be shown on a site.
They do this by blocking any requests in your browser to known advertising URLs or some cases flat out block the ad code itself.
In some cases, blockers will flat out block an entire site based on content such as adult sites.
The Positives of Ad Blocking
Besides the fact that by using Ad Blockers you won’t have to view any “annoying” ads but the speed of the sites will improve.
That is because by blocking all of these requests to other servers less data is transmitted which results in less bandwidth used & quicker loading times.
With the cost of mobile data being so high, blocking all of these scripts could lower your data usage substantially depending on the types of sites you visit.
Below are some examples of a site with the blocker turned on (right) and with the site usually loading (left).
Who’s Backing Ad Blockers – App vs. The web
Currently, there are some major companies that Ad Blockers are in their best interest.
Here in the states that company is Apple.
Why is Apple pushing for blocking ads on the iPhone? It’s pretty simple actually; they don’t have an ad product that allows website publishers to uses Apple ads. While Google makes money from people in their browser through Adsense / Adwords, Apple doesn’t.
Apple, on the other hand, has iAds that allow them to make money from people using apps. By blocking ads on Safari allows Apple to force web publishers to push their users use their app instead. Where Apple can make a cut from the Ad revenue within the app.
That is why Apple in my opinion released their News app right along side the blocking capabilities of iOS 9.
This means more money for Apple & less for their competitor Google, who makes money from both app & the web with Adwords.
The Negatives of Ad Blockers
Now obviously as both publishers & marketers Ad Blocking is a scary topic….
If more people end up using Ad Blockers, that means less revenue for publishers that rely on ads.
For marketers, that means less inventory to go around, which will result in an increased price for traffic that is available.
Not only that but as Ad Blockers start to add settings to block trackers such as Google Analytics the data both marketers and publishers can access becomes screwed.
This will also begin to break things such as retargeting & ad relevancy will go down as less data is available.
Where Is This Going For Publishers?
I think the first line of defense will be publishers simply blocking any user with a blocker enabled. Or by forcing them to pay for the content or a complete an action such as joining an email list or sharing it on Twitter, etc.
The Washington Post tried this very thing starting in early September, but since has already stopped. I would imagine because users with the blockers flat out stopped returning to the site.
Personally I think that sites that try to combat blockers in this way, will ultimately fail. As there are simply to many other sites out there with similar content that visitors will switch to.
This means that publishers will need to start figuring out new ways to monetize their properties by offering things such as, premium content, different format of content and more contextual advertising.
However, most wont and will instead simply add more ads to their site to try and make up for the lost revenue of those blocking the ads. Which will cause more people to start using blockers because their is simply to many ads.
What Will Marketers Do?
Honestly I’m not to concerned about ad blockers. The reason for this is, CTRs have been dropping ever since the first display ad was served.
This will cause the prices of ads to go up but also, will ultimately increase the CTRs initially as the people that wouldn’t click the ad anyways are now not even being shown the ad.
Mobile advertising will become even more popular as currently ad blockers don’t effect Apps. Which neither Google or Apple will allow for quite sometime as they both make a lot of money from in-app advertising.
Sites that have their own native advertising such as Facebook, Twitter & POF wont be effected. Since they can ultimately get past the blockers by changing their ad codes to break them.
Paid traffic such as Outbrain & Tabolla however will be the greatest negatively effected. This is because the majority of their publishers are new sites such as CNN & Fox News. Which once again companies like Apple and Google wouldn’t care about protecting.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
I would love to hear what other marketers think of this & any ideas you have to combat it.
Want my ideology summed up?