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Is Ad-blocking the end of advertising? We don't think so.

Whether you work in an ad agency or for a brand, you will no doubt be aware of the concept of ad-blocking and the debate surrounding it at the moment.  With recent headlines including “One in Ten people signed up to ad-blockers last quarter” and “Ad-Blockers will kill the internet but help is on the way” it’s a hot topic in the media, but this week we are questioning whether ad blocking really is the end of the advertising industry or it just merely a case of smoke and mirrors? 

Let’s begin with some statistics, reports have shown that an estimated 200 million people globally are using ad-blockers with males aged 16-24 most likely to do so. Other research has suggested that $21.8bn of ad revenue was lost in 2015 thanks to ad blockers, with this number set to increase to $41.4bn in 2016. 

So what are the reasons behind people blocking ads? The UK Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) have researched the topic and found that 73% of those surveyed stated that their main reasoning behind choosing to use ad blocking software was due to ads being ‘invasive’.  Alternative reasons that were identified are consumers finding ads ‘annoying’ and that they slowed down web browsing. 

Recently many were shocked by mobile network Three announcing that they were to offer their 8.8 million customers the opportunity to block up to 95% of ads when browsing on their mobile device. This announcement was followed by concern from the IAB who suggest that by utilising this service many consumers may have to start paying for content that was previously free. 

But what effect is this likely to have on the advertising industry? Digital marketing and advertising is no doubt a vital necessity for brands these days but, due to it’s high levels of measurability and tracking, are brands focusing on digital marketing too much when really it may not be the most effective method? Surveys have shown that the average click-through-rate for online ads is below 1% so are ad blockers really making that much difference to results?

Having raised this topic in the office resulting in an in-depth discussion on the subject of ad-blocking, we discovered that the majority of those who choose to use ad-blocking software had never before clicked on a digital ad and generally found them to be annoying which leads to a more negative view of brands whose ads were interrupting their internet browsing experience.

Instead of shaking our heads and accepting that ad blocking may be the end of advertising as we know it, here at Connect we have decided to put a more positive spin on things. 

Advertising by its very definition has always interrupted news or entertainment. It was always the uninvited guest.

Before all this technology what did we do if didn’t want to watch an ad? We turned the page (press ad) or went into the kitchen to put the kettle on (TV ads) i.e. we blocked it! 

So ‘ad-blocking’ is no different to not paying attention to an ad while it’s on. And the solution to that is no different to what it’s always been i.e. create more engaging, compelling, interactive and immersive ads.

As a brand, instead of forcing people to see your ads and interrupt the content they’re choosing to view, why not invest in ads that serve customers instead of interrupt them?

The idea of content marketing is not new but it is becoming more and more popular as a way of brands ‘giving’ something to their potential or existing customers that they actually find interesting (in some form of content) but whilst doing so, encouraging engagement with these customers and therefore increasing the likelihood of an action. 

Don’t let ad blocking be an excuse, these customers probably weren’t who you were after anyway! Make this your time to create engaging, innovative and immersive ads. (Or let us do it for you!)