Ad blockers have been around for years, but online advertisers around the world have been scared of these tools and the threat they can pose to ad serving and exposure to users, and some news sites have gone so far as to say that adblockers will end the Internet as we know it.
So what exactly happens with ad-blocking tools? As an online advertiser or content creator, should you be concerned?
What are the ad-blocking tools?
Ad blockers, sometimes known as content blockers, are simple programs that prevent ads from appearing on websites. Adblocking tools are usually browser add-ons and are optionally available for most web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer.
Adblock Plus is the most popular online ad blocker and is downloaded and installed as a browser plug-in independently and is now available on millions of users’ devices and browsers around the world. It is available for a variety of different browsers. Although AdBlock Plus is the most popular ad blocker, However, dozens of alternatives are available to choose from.
Between the need to block ads and financial profit
In 2015, Apple made headlines when it announced its iOS 9 smartphone.
Dean Murphy, a British developer, created an iOS ad-blocking app called Crystal. The app, which was available on the Apple online store for 99 cents, works similarly to AdBlock Plus and other ad blockers on the market.
Murphy told the media he did not create Crystal to create wealth but to develop his iOS programming skills. In the week following Crystal’s launch on September 16, Murphy earned $ 75,000 from its application sales.
On the other hand, Marco Arment, founder of Instapaper app and co-founder of Tumbler, also created an ad blocker for iOS, an app called Peace and downloaded tens of thousands of times, but only 36 hours later the developer removed his program from the app store and offered refunds, saying:
While blocking ads benefits many people in key ways, they hurt some, including many sites that rely on advertising revenue to survive
Why are ad-blocking tools controversial?
Today, the vast majority of web sites exist and offer their services thanks to the ads they host on their sites, where millions of websites, from microblogging to large corporate-owned magazines, rely on online advertising revenue to survive. Adblocking tools have certainly been available for years, but for the size of Apple, which is one of the largest and richest technology companies in the world, its support for the tools to block advertising in public is a big and dangerous development at the same time.
Much of the concern surrounding Apple’s decision stems from the fact that by giving people the option to block online advertising, many people will do so. Although Android is still the biggest player in the mobile market, a large number of people can use ad blockers as soon as they move to iOS for the first time, which could have a significant impact on online advertising revenue.
In research for Adobe and PageFair, the use of ad blockers has increased significantly in recent years, from around 21 million users in 2010 to more than 236 million by the end of 2016.
Some experts believe that the adoption of ad-blocking programs on mobile devices, such as those now allowed on Android and iOS, could significantly exceed that figure as new online sites rely on ads as a major resource for their profits.
In terms of the potential impact of ad blockers on advertisers, opinions are mixed. One researcher estimates that if ad-ban rates are maintained at current levels – and publishers do little to fight ad-banning – they will lose $ 35 billion by 2020.
However, other estimates are more conservative, with potential economic losses of around $ 1 billion, unfortunately, it is impossible to determine the extent of the damage that the use of ad-blocking tools can do on websites.
Although the most obvious reason people use ad blockers is to delete ads from their web browsing experience, there are many other benefits to using them.
By removing ads from webpages served to users, page load times are often greatly reduced, and data usage can also be reduced, which is good news for people with a limited data package.
Another reason people use ad-blocking tools is that some ads use small scripts self-contained snippets of code that perform specific functions on the site page that can be easily exploited to access sensitive user information.
Because many ad platforms use behavior tracking and monitoring technology that distinguishes user behavior based on the sites they visit, ad blocking tools can be very attractive to people who don’t want to offer their browsing preferences online to advertisers and content delivery networks.
Some good news about ad-blocking tools
Perhaps for the advertiser or publisher, the picture is getting darker, but not everything about ad-blocking tools looks bad. There is some good news:
Ad blockers used on phones do not affect computer search campaigns
Although the increased use of ad blockers will affect some advertisers, it is important to note that this whole situation resulted from Apple’s decision to allow the download and installation of ad blockers on their phones and this does not affect campaigns targeted at computers at all, if users do not use tools Block ads on their computers, so your ads can always be the same.
It should also be noted that most people don’t use any ad blocking tools at all, and because Apple has allowed its users to download one of these tools from its store, this does not mean that all users will change their behavior radically.
You may also want to think about targeting options for your campaigns, but you should do so anyway, but by improving your targeting options you can feel comfortable knowing that your ad budget should be spent as wisely as possible by targeting your “ideal” audience.
Ad blockers for phones do not affect apps
Another added feature is that ad blocking tools do not affect the functionality of the app as most mobile users spend their time, they only affect browser-based searches and only then if the user has installed adblocking software.
The importance of remarketing
The potential increase in reliance on ad blockers means that you should remarket, not just regular display campaigns, and that is now more important than ever because remarketing focuses on baseline metrics like conversions.
Ad blockers offer new opportunities for local advertising
One of the consequences of renewed interest in ad blocking may be an increase in the popularity and spread of local ads, as the original ads look and appear just like real content, making them outside the scope of ad blocking technology.
Local advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years, but may soon become more common if the Ad Blocking Program continues to be adopted, not every advertiser will be able to implement an original ad campaign (or should, even if they have the means), but this is another trend Online advertising can take in the future.
The best way to fight ad blockers is to diversify your advertising channels across different search engines and social platforms and make sure that you use all of the ad targeting options available to you to focus your spending on where you will provide the most return on investment.