How Ad Blockers Are Changing the Online Advertising Landscape

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Spending on online advertising is slowly going to overtake traditional mediums like radio, TV and print. As per a recent Zenith Media report, by as early as 2018, digital ad spend will overtake TV globally.

How Ad Blockers Are Changing the Online Advertising Landscape in 2017

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With such fantastic growth in online advertising spends, marketing functions across the board are tuning into the benefits of digital. With the rise of mobile Internet and the increasing importance of mobile phones in our lives, digital is only going to go north from here.

Another advantage with digital is that it provides marketers a more accurate medium for targeting and engaging consumers on a very personal level, which is not really possible in traditional mediums like TV, radio or print.

The Digital Marketing Landscape

All the big Internet companies are thriving because of their ad revenues. Facebook wouldn't have grown to become the biggest social network in the world without its advertising platform. Google, who mastered the art of online advertising, earns most of its revenues from advertising.

And thanks to Google’s publisher program, AdSense, millions of website owners make their living by allowing Google to run contextual ads on their websites. For a marketer, platforms such as Google and Facebook are a godsend, as they allow them to market their product/service to a wide variety of specifically-targeted audiences across the globe.

However, it's important to notice a slow undercurrent in the world of online advertising, where some technologies and platforms are not growing as fast as digital overall.

Related Content: 2017 Digital Marketing Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore

Slow Performing Channels

Google’s desktop search revenues are decreasing while revenue from mobile heightens with each passing year. This chasm between desktop and mobile ad revenues led Google to implement the mobilegeddon algorithm update.  

This update was introduced by Google in April 2015 to give priority to sites that are mobile friendly and rank them higher on mobile searches. Websites that weren’t mobile friendly suffered and lost rankings on mobile searches. Google introduced this update because advertisers weren’t willing to pay to show an ad that takes the user to a website which is not easy to use on mobile and thus led to wasted ad spend. With this update, Google can justify ad spend by brands on mobile ads and assure them a better ROI.

How Ad Blockers Are Changing the Online Advertising Landscape in 2017

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SEO is becoming hyper-competitive and mainly works if your content creation capabilities are off the charts. PPC remains very competitive and difficult to crack in low budgets. Banner ads are increasingly becoming annoying and CTR from banner ads is decreasing with each passing day. And then there are ad blockers.

Free Bonus Download: Get our YouTube Ads Quick Start Guide so you can start launching profitable YouTube ad campaigns in any niche! Click here to download it free.

What Is an Ad Blocker?

For the uninitiated, an ad blocker is a small piece of code that runs with the browser, blocking all ads as one traverses through the Internet.

How Ad Blockers Are Changing the Online Advertising Landscape in 2017

These ad blockers have posed a massive problem for the advertisers, accounting for a whopping $22 billion of losses globally!

The most famous ad blocker is AdBlock Plus and it has been downloaded more than 500 million times in ten years time since its launch in 2006. This browser extension is available for Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, Android and iOS, catering to a wide range of users. With so many downloads and at least 60 million active users, AdBlock Plus holds an important role in the ad blocking discussion.

The main point in this ad blocking discussion is the revenue losses to publishers because of the increasing use of ad blocking software.

How Ad Blockers Are Changing the Online Advertising Landscape in 2017

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Since a lot of people are using ad blocking software, a sizeable amount of ads are being blocked and thus never getting served. This leads to a loss to the publisher and to the ad network since no revenue is generated in this scenario. Only the user benefits from this arrangement.

However, since most publishers on the Internet offer their content for free and earn revenue only through ads, the use of ad blocking software, in the long run, can be harmful to users. Most of us don’t like to pay for content on the web, but publishers need to earn revenue either from subscriptions or from ads.

Learn More: Why Neil Patel Pays $30,000 for Content & Gives it Away For Free [podcast]

The intentions of the ad blocking software are noble and they do have the benefit of users as their sole reason for existence. Most people understand that if there are no ads on the Internet, it would be very difficult for all the free content to survive. To that effect, AdBlock Plus has introduced a whitelist of ad formats called acceptable ads that can be enabled in the extension to allow some ads to appear while surfing the web.

Why Would Anyone Install Ad Blockers?

Everything would have remained hunky dory if online ads weren't such a nuisance and surfing the web was a more user-friendly experience. But all online publishers, large and small, earn revenues by allowing ad networks to publish ads on their websites. 

For the first quarter of 2016, The New York Times earned about $42 million from digital advertising, which accounts for one-third of their total advertising revenue. This is how an article on NYT appears:

How Ad Blockers Are Changing the Online Advertising Landscape in 2017

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The first portion of the page is covered by a huge ad that takes away the focus from the actual content and results in an intrusive — and often frustrating to the point of page abandonment — user experience. The Internet is plastered with ads like these, making money for the publishers and ad networks and increasingly forgetting the end user in this bargain.

So, anyone who finds these ads annoying can easily install ad blocking software like Adblock Plus and enjoy a more user-friendly surfing experience. However, this leads to a big dent in advertising revenues, especially of small publishers, and could eventually make them extinct.

What’s the Solution?

One thing that definitely needs to happen is that the ads we see online will have to become more intuitive and less intrusive. This responsibility lies with the advertisers, publishers and ad networks to ensure a seamless user experience. Publishers and advertisers can opt for alternatives like native advertising and influencer marketing instead of relying on banner ads. Both of these options provide a user-friendly way of marketing product and services.

Learn More: Influencer Marketing 101: How to Succeed

Ad blocking software is a phenomenon born out of the necessity of accessing a clutter-free Internet experience and as the web continues to slow down and demand more bandwidth, hacks like AdBlock Plus are going to flourish and keep questioning the status quo. These hacks work because they empower people to make choices of their own.

Different entities will need to work together towards a clutter-free and seamless experience on the web. Who will play a part in what comes next? Publishers, advertisers, ad networks, advertising agencies and, perhaps most important of all, consumers are all going to play a part. Let's see how each player can help in making the web a more inclusive and user-friendly network.

Free Bonus Download: Get our YouTube Ads Quick Start Guide so you can start launching profitable YouTube ad campaigns in any niche! Click here to download it free.