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The Truth Behind Ad Blocking and How it Impacts Your Marketing Plans


Ad blocking or ad filtering is removing or altering advertising content in a webpage. This can be achieved through downloaded applications or software. In particular, AdBlock has been a popular ad blocking browser plugin for years on desktop and laptop computers. A recent development was introduced by Apple this year allowing ad-blocking tools for iOS. From a user standpoint this could potentially greatly improve the online experience, and once the tools were made available this fall these ad-blocking apps quickly shot up to the top of the sales charts in the App Store. However, from a marketing standpoint this new trend is greatly impacting how we target and market to consumers.

What are the benefits for the user?

  • Ad blocking provides easier access to the information on a website through quicker loading of web pages and lower use of bandwidth/CPU/memory, as well as a cleaner visual experience for users. This can be very dramatic, as illustrated by some test performed by the New York Times here:

(Source NYT: The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites)

  • Ad blocking is believed to improve security.
  • Privacy-concerned users are particularly interested in this technology, as these tools blocking tracking scripts as well as ads themselves.
  • When utilizing a capped or pay-for-usage connection for data or bandwidth, ad blocking can help you maximize your usage. This is accomplished due to the extra data it would take to load and play advertisements.

What is the impact on marketers?

  • According to an Adobe/PageFair report, U.S. ad blocking grew by 48 percent at the end of the 2015 fiscal year.
  • For mobile devises, UBS Securities estimates that ad blockers could only impact a total of $1 billion in revenue – or .5% of what it pulls each year.
  • UBS securities estimates that ad blocking on desktops will cost publishers more than $20 billion in lost advertising this year alone. This number is projected to increase to $40 billion by 2016

So what can you do…?

  1. Get creative
    Ad blocking is a thing and its not going anywhere. It’s time to get creative and come up with new, cutting edge ways to target your audience. For example, your marketing campaign has traditionally included a web banner that garners thousands of hits every day, which in return results in 20 leads. With a 48% growth of consumers using ad-blocking software your leads are nearly cut in half resulting in less revenue. It’s time to go back to the starting block and think of a different avenue to target that same user.

    It’s worth noting that after the initial release of Ad Blockers in the Apple App Store, their popularity has waned somewhat. Early adopters quickly pushed several apps into the top spots of the App Store charts for several weeks, but as of this writing none appeared in the top 25.

  2. Trust in your data
    Ad blocking is on the rise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your target demographics are the ones who are utilizing these tools. Analyze your ad-buys, watch your ROIs and trust in what the numbers are telling you.
  3. You have to reach your audience in other ways.
    Forbes states that 43% of Millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. Which also can mean that your pop-up ad isn’t going to sit well with that demographic. Content marketing is making a huge impact in the industry- be the voice of your brand and drive your customer directly to your site authentically.