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How Damaging are Ad-Blockers for Advertisers?



With 200 million people using ad-blockers across the globe, the online retail and advertisers are already in a tizzy.With Apple’s ad-blocking support for iOS9, they are perturbed even more. Oh! And, did we forget to mention that even Samsung has joined the bandwagon off-late and extended its support for the ad-blockers on its native mobile phone browser? While the making of ad-blocking software has added another task in the developer’s portfolios, it isn’t really a happy scenario for the advertisers.

So, what really are ad-blockers?

Ad-blockers or occasionally referred to as content blockers, are software applications that forbid any ads to be shown on any web page. These are mostly available as browser add-ons for Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. While there are plenty of ad-blockers available, AdBlock Plus among them is the most popular ad-blocking software.

Why all the hoopla about ad-blockers?

From Apple’s point of view, their decision to allow ad-blocking apps is solely to protect user privacy and to create an enhanced user experience by eliminating any possible interference of data among the user and the apps that they use, especially on the mobile phone platform. Although focusing on user experience is foremost for any organization, but in the process, they are depriving the app developers of their potential to earn some dough from the content.

Websites are just another form of a business that’s been flourishing over the years, and it’s only looking better. Majority of these websites earn their revenue from online advertising which can be anything from a small scale beauty blog to a magazine of bigger brand names. But, even though the ad-blockers have been around for many years, an open support by the technology giant, Apple for the ad-blockers has certainly created a stir.

Adobe and PageFair Analysis

Based on Adobe and PageFair’s analysis, users installing ad-blockers for their desktop has only seen a rising trend since 2010 which shot up to a whopping number of 181 million users in 2015. Some experts even foresee that the ad-blocking software users could exceed the current figure with the rise in their popularity, like the ones offered by Apple now for their iOS9 browser.

However, the same report by Adobe and PageFair shows mixed opinions where some estimates predict a $40 billion loss for publishers in 2016, while other estimates anticipate a potential damage at around $1 billion. Hence, the damage estimate is quite unpredictable.

Why using ad-blockers?

Is using ad-blockers just limited to preventing ads on websites or is there something more that’s making them so popular? Yes, indeed there are quite a few other benefits of these software programs that’s enticing the users. The blocking of ads causes the page load to quite slowly in comparison to while it loads with ads and that in turn reduces your data usage which is great for those who use restricted data plans.

Additionally, ad-blockers also prevent scripts used by advertisements to gain access to your confidential data offering enhanced privacy, and also protect your browsing behaviour from getting tracked.

How bad is the scenario?

Those who are running PPC ad campaigns get a hit especially on the mobile platforms. This affects some publishers significantly, while some may not get affected that badly. So, higher the adoption of these ad-blocking software, greater the hit on the advertisers who rely on Pay Per Click ads for their revenue.

What’s the silver lining in the clouds?

But, is it really that bad as it looks? From what we observe, there is no reason for the advertisers to fear losing their existence as the ad-blockers are still comparatively rare on the mobile phone platform than their presence on the web. Infact, ad-blockers are not something new, they have been there on the online platform since several years and hence, all this concern about the extinction of online ads are simply hyped up.

Besides, as per the reports in October last year, the popularity of ad-blockers was already dipping in the iOS App Store. To add to that some of the publishers have even found ways to outwit the ad-blockers by placing ads that cannot be blocked. From blocking users who use ad-blockers or making a deal with Eyeo (ad-blocker) for not blocking their ads advertisers are indeed finding their way out.

So, as every cloud has a silver lining there are quite a few other opportunities we noticed that still stops ad-blockers to entirely corner the advertisers.

  • iOS ad-blockers can only prevent ads on mobile phone browsers, and hence they do not affect the desktop campaigns.
  • Moreover, mobile phone users are 86% of times engaged in app use and therefore, there is very little chance of ad-blockers to block any ads. Considering that 38% of web browsing is on mobile phones, ad-blocking is almost NIL while using mobile apps and only 1.6% ads blocked while browsing through the mobile browser.
  • Re-marketing is the new approach for those who really want to convert those display ads. Focusing on clicks and conversions rather than impressions will ensure that your ad campaigns reach the right people who can potentially convert them into revenue.
  • Rise of native advertising can be one of the saviours for some advertisers which read and appear just like real content and are still beyond the clamp of the ad-blocking programs.
  • Considering that small set ups do not earn much revenue from the mobile ads anyway, they are the ones who will be least affected with the rising trend of ad-blocking software program installation.

On a concluding note, we would advise you to run ad campaigns in proportionate size and format in order to avoid causing any disturbance in user experience. The whole idea is to earn revenue keeping the consumer privacy and convenience in mind, and only that attitude can save the future of digital advertising.   

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How Damaging are Ad-Blockers for Advertisers?