Welcome to the Era of Ad Blocking

Ad blocking has made a huge splash in the marketing world – and the ripples are still being felt. In Summer 2015, ad blocking became a mainstream media story, a new industry buzzword and a major headache for marketers. Although ad blocking did not technically debut in 2015, the concept garnered national attention after Apple announced that it would include content blocking features within its iOS 9 software upgrade. This announcement sent a wave of panic throughout the advertising industry out of fear that it would drastically diminish views from users on Apple’s mobile browser.

What is Ad Blocking?

True to its namesake, an ad blocker is a feature that blocks ads from web pages. Ad blockers can come in the form of browser extensions, mobile applications and, even, specialized mobile ad blocking browsers.

Who does Ad Blocking Benefit?

With the integration of ad blockers, mobile web users can experience a vastly improved mobile experience. Without any ads, the speed at which web pages load is much faster. One of the biggest pain points for mobile web users are slow page loading times; pages that are slow or fail to load can hinder a user’s entire experience — especially when they are in need of immediate information.  Many users also feel that their privacy is less at risk without third-party ads running on publisher pages. And in this day and age, digital privacy is not something that web users take lightly.

Who Does Ad Blocking Hurt?

While ad blocking benefits web audiences, it can sufficiently hurt web publishers. Publishers do not get paid for ads that are blocked; so if an increasing percentage of web users choose to install ad blocking extensions, publishers will see a cut in their advertising profits. As more web users become aware of ad blockers, publishers stand to lose out on a lot of money and brand awareness opportunities.

What Can Be Done?

While some publishers are trying to fight this shift toward ad blocking, it may be too late for many. Of course, not every web users will take the time to download a new extension or application to block ads, but those who have will, more often than not, refuse to revert back to an ad-filled web experience. Once you’ve reaped the benefits of ad-free browsing, it can be tough to see any upside to disabling ad blockers.

Rather than fighting an uphill battle, publishers should spend their time and resources more efficiently by finding alternative solutions. Although advertisers may no longer be able to reach every web user through targeted ads, they can still reach their target audiences through digital influencers’ social media posts. The rise of ad blocking is not relegated to traditional ads, alone, as it is widely believed that sponsored content may also be susceptible to ad blocking. However, ad blockers cannot touch social media posts. Web users are already turning to social platforms for brand information and product recommendations, especially from influencers who have carved out established authorities in specific content areas.

The average online user logs 1.72 hours per day on social networks, which adds up to many daily instances in which advertisers can effectively demand their attention through influencer posts. Considering the rise of ad blocking should quell any remaining doubts about the importance of influencer marketing in this digital landscape. They say, “When one door closes, another one opens.” And,  as ad blockers are increasingly slamming the door on opportunities to connect with potential customers through targeted ads, the door to influencer marketing remains wide open. Now is the time connect with digital customers in a way that resonates with their increasingly social-first mindsets.



Image Source: TechCrunch

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