PageFair and The New York Times recently published the most recent stats on adblocking globally. In the past year, the number of users employing ad-blocking software has risen to roughly 11% of the global Internet audience, equating to some 600 million devices.
Many companies have tried to outsmart adblocking or ban it in one way or another, but as we keep reiterating - adblocking is about far more than just mitigating advertising revenues. The risk of malware / malvertisements has never been higher, and the number of illicit tools and devices used to ’steal’ personal data - in particular payment data are still growing. The cleverest of these malvertisements don’t even require you to click on them to be activated - they pose an increasing threat for internet users, whose only properly reliable defence is the use of adblockers.
With the equivalent rise in programmatic advertising and less manual checking of advertising source content, the danger posed by various ad servers has never been higher too. My colleagues and I use adblockers very much as safety and security tools, as well as for optimising devices to accelerate page load speeds.
Media companies and publishers who use 3rd party ad servers and encourage their readership to suspend adblockers are actually putting their audience at high risk. In line with the still continuing rise of use of adblockers, this is not a sustainable strategy long-term - adblocking is here to stay and it’s still growing fast!
The only proper remedy is to serve local, properly vetted and finely- topic and preference targeted advertising, native to the site it is served on. For our own Affino Unified Digital Business Platform, we call this ’Persistent Content Delivery’. This means that advertising is served natively from the very core of the site, and is structurally and code-wise indistinguishable from the article content and media being served up.
I have long advocated a move to more subtle forms of advertising - in particular native, sponsorship / endorsement and product placement. The Internet audience is suffering from advertising fatigue - they have been blanket-bombed with too many banner ads for far too long. Sometimes it’s too much like having to stare permanently into the billboards of Piccadilly Circus or Times Square - it’s just overload.
Adblocking is definitely not going away, so all businesses that have traditionally relied on advertising income streams need to adapt and put in place a proper viable solution. Blocking users with adblockers is not the remedy, the remedy is to work with the audience - make them feel safe and secure, give them guarantees, and don’t blanket-bomb them to distraction with too many banners. The best advertising is complementary - that which is deemed relevant and well-received, and certainly not too full-on or overly distracting.
Advertisers in several sectors have had to deal with changing paradigms - particularly for television, where hardly anyone now actually watches or is influenced by the more conventional interstitial ads. Television is becoming increasingly reliant on programme sponsorship / idents and product placement.
Advertisers on the Internet have largely become too lazy, there is too little innovation going on here, and far to many believe they can still thrive using the old-school banner-centric approach. I haven’t willingly / deliberately clicked on a banner in years, it usually happens by misadventure, and mostly on mobile devices - when I’m simply trying to scroll down the page or view the full article - and an ad simply gets in the way.
So indeed a variety of advances are required to bring Internet advertising properly into the 21st century - there needs to be more manual vetting of source ads, more guarantees and better targeting, alongside more subtle and more clever ways of connecting brands to their audiences ...