If there’s such thing as an absolute truth in the advertising world, it’s this: ad blockers are the result of bad advertising. But with ad blocking software labeled “the Napster of the advertising industry,” its use is still a source of debate. Is ad blocking a great user experience improvement or a huge problem for premium content on the web?
While answers may vary, it’s clear that there’s an increasing interest in ad blocking.
Ad Blocking Growth
Ad blocking software is nothing new. But where it was once only used by smallish cadres of tech-savvy power users, it’s now becoming more mainstream. So much so that PageFair and Adobe named their 2014 report just that: Adblocking goes mainstream.
The report is the kind of thing that scares advertisers. Especially with figures revealing that ad blocking is most popular with younger users—the group that advertisers target most. In fact, 41% of American internet users aged between 18 and 29 use ad blocking software.
Sean Blanchfield of PageFair warns advertisers and publishers about this phenomenon: “It’s millennials. You can basically see a large cohort of adblockers growing up – as adblockers.”
This culture of blocking ads isn’t a cry for the end of all advertising—it’s a cry for more relevant advertising. According to Adblock Plus founder, Till Faida, that’s the whole point of ad blocking software:
“Adblocking technology puts power back into users’ hands, and the advertising world needs to respond by working out how to get its messages across without being annoying and intrusive.”
What Can Be Done?
In this episode of Inside the Industry, Kate Willett speaks to the impact of ad blocking, the evolution of the Internet user, and the response that’s needed from the advertising industry.