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Are Ad Blockers Indicating a New Digital Age for Businesses?

Ad blockers have been around for years, but they hadn’t been widely used by the general public until fairly recently. Now, their popularity has grown exponentially. In fact, over the last year, the use of ad blockers has grown 48 percent. This is one trend that’s making businesses and publishers alike increasingly worried, since they make a large portion of their profits from advertisements. It’s causing digital marketers to rethink their strategies and prepare for a new style of marketing.

The Rise of Ad Blockers

Ad blocking used to be a secret hack used only by IT professionals and other tech-savvy individuals to reduce online distractions; however, things have changed drastically in just the last year. The sudden popularity of ad blocking is largely attributed to Apple’s decision to promote ad blocking with their latest iOS version.

Those who have paid attention to what Tim Cook has to say know that Apple doesn’t like the way ad governance has been handled in the past. This major tech company doesn’t believe in bombarding their consumers with advertisements, and they don’t believe others should be subjected to it either. As a result, they’ve made a point to promote ad blocking extensions in the App Store.

The most notable free download is AdBlock, which removes ads from all web pages. The program started out free, but with the request for a small donation from users if possible. It was downloaded in homes all over the world in order to reduce the number of advertisements displayed. Apple endorses this product fully, and keeps it in the trending section of the App Store.

Apple’s endorsement of ad blocking has no doubt come about in an effort to give consumers exactly what they want. People have decided that enough is enough for blatant advertising, and it’s driven them to find creative ways to avoid these distractions. Thus, worldwide ad blocking was born.

Lost Ad Efficiency

Paid digital ads are less effective than they used to be. It’s gotten to the point where companies can’t rely on ads for exposure or banners for massive revenue. Steve Olenski, Forbes contributor, says it best:

“Let’s say you operate a hotel resort. You might work with a company online that puts your banner ads in front of people who are looking to go on holiday in the area you serve. You might get thousands of hits every day, which result in ten leads. Those ten leads might mean one new customer a day. If fifty percent of people start using ad blockers, then your revenues are cut in half. You can’t rely on those ads anymore.”

This analogy paints the perfect picture of why businesses are suffering from the effects of ad blockers. It’s difficult to know anymore if the advertising efforts you make will result in a quality return on investment. Digital ads are becoming a major part of the “law of diminishing returns.”

Advertising Methods That Will Take Its Place

Major publishers and corporations have begun to fight back against ad blockers. For example, Axel Springer, the media group that owns Europe’s best selling newspaper, Bild, has begun taking measures by asking readers to disable their ad blockers if they want to continue using their services for free.

There has also been a major attack on Ad Block, which has forced it to turn into Ad Block Plus. This newer version of the software has introduced an “Acceptable Ads” program, which allows the penetration of non-intrusive ads. This has helped them to avoid lawsuits and other legal troubles.

However, the majority of companies have chosen to roll with the punches and amp up their advertising through more traditional methods. Though television advertising has proven to be more expensive than it’s worth in the past, more companies are turning to TV ad slots in order to gain more attention. The number of people who watch live broadcasting television is diminishing, but there are still many who will see the advertisements, whether they watch it firsthand or stream it later on the network’s website.

A highly lucrative form of advertising today is that of radio advertising. This was actually the first form of digital marketing, and though it’s lost some of its “wow” factor over the years, it’s still considered beneficial in the eyes of many marketers.

According to Neil Patel, one of the most widely recognized entrepreneurs and marketers in the world, radio advertising can go a long way. “Since radio did fairly well in transitioning to the internet, it hasn’t taken as big of a hit as TV, and even old school radio still matters,” he says. He goes on to explain that thanks to internet radio stations like Pandora, billions of profits are made every year through radio advertising.

The Takeaway

Firms can continue to fight the ad blocking revolution if they wish, but it might be wise to recognize the overall message: Consumers are fed up with the way digital ads have been handled thus far. Those looking to increase their revenues through advertising would do well to analyze this trend and come up with solutions to meet consumers’ current needs.

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