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Ad blocking software & your digital campaigns

The use of ad blockers by consumers has been occurring for many, many years. In recent years the percentage of online users that have installed ad blocking plugins or apps on their desktop and mobile devices has increased dramatically, with some research suggesting that this figure is now as high as 15% of adults (the ones with a disposable income and purchasing power that you want to reach). In the last 12 months the number of people that choose to use ad blocker has grown by 41%; a figure that is too large to ignore and indicates a serious behavioural trend. Is it really the end of the world or is this Mobilegeddon 2.0?

What is it that ad blockers do exactly?

It is a misconception that 100% of ad blockers block 100% of ads. In reality only about half of ad blockers block all ads, with many only blocking ads on particular sites or particular types of ads. What we do know is that many will prevent ads displaying on Facebook and across the Google Search & Display Networks; two of the most popular online advertising mediums. The nature of no two ad blocking systems being the same makes it difficult to predict or measure the true impact that these software have on a digital marketing campaign.

Why do people use ad blockers?

People often complain that there are too many ads on the internet and that they are overwhelmed with ‘spammy’ promotional material when trying to access the content that they are after; often no actual issue with well-planned genuine ads that appear on Facebook, alongside Google Search results or across the Google Display Network.

Another common reason for using ad blockers is that they improve the performance of sites, particularly on mobile. Reports of improved speed (up to 10 times faster), lower data usage and battery life for mobile devices has caused the spread of ad blocker utilisation.

There also comes the problem of consumer education. A surprisingly high number of people are unaware that revenue from ads fund the websites that they enjoy free content from. If advertisers stop seeing these sites as a worthwhile medium for spreading their message and cease dedicating part of their advertising budgets to online placements, the websites will no longer be able to exist due to financial issues and be forced to shut down or place limits on the amount of content they are able to offer. As we have seen recently with newspaper paywalls, people may also be forced to pay for the content they previously received for free. Discussions with people using ad blocker suggests that they don’t believe that their individual usage will cause a problem and prompt a loss of revenue.

How to minimise the impact of ad blocking on a digital campaign

It can be difficult to tell if your campaign is being impacted by ad blocking practices. If you suspect that your campaigns have been affected, Google has made changes that support the advertiser. The introduction of ‘no impression, no charge’ bidding on Display advertising means that until a user has seen the ad for over 2 seconds it won’t contribute to the CPM and overall cost of the campaign – you won’t be paying for non-existent eyes on your ads.

There are code snippet solutions available that prevent your ads counting an impression and not distorting the campaign data, but due to the nature of ad block creators they will constantly work around these issues as soon as they become commonly known.

Do I need to take action?

As a blanket answer, you don’t need to worry. Despite there is a large number of users that choose to install ad blockers, we are yet to experience any significant or noticeable impact on digital campaigns across any online advertising medium. But rest assured that in the event that there does become a problem, there are ways that advertisers can protect and mitigate the impacts of ad blocking.

If you are wanting to discuss your digital marketing campaigns, contact our informed team on 08 9328 7000 or send us an email here.