Online Ads Suck. But What If They Went Away?

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No one loves seeing advertising online (well other than those few and far-between campaigns that really make us laugh). To stop their intrusion on our viewing, ad-blocking software has become increasingly popular. A new report from Adobe and one of several startups helping publishers fight ad blocking found that 198 million people globally are now blocking ads, up 41% from 2014. It’s obvious that ads are an annoyance to many. But what if we blocked them all? What might happen to the web as we know it?

Bye-Bye To Some Of The Best

$21.8 billion in global ad revenue will be blocked this year, according to Adobe. That’s a huge loss to those looking to reach potential audience and those selling ads too. While cutting those ads may make for a better browsing experience for end-users, it comes at a cost. It could be killing the sites we love.

Many of our favorite websites are supported by the ad revenue. The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, and tons of other sites are all supported by advertiser dollars. The reason they can provide the content we love to consume every day is because they make money from the ads we see while viewing. As more people block those ads, they make less money which will hurt their ability to produce the content we love. As revenue drops from more and more blocking advertising, there is a very real chance many of the websites we enjoy could go away.

How Can We Stop The Hurt

Most will agree, over the years online advertising has gotten more and more obnoxious. This is the reason people choose to use ad-blockers. If these ads had been less distracting, over-bearing, and frequent, we would have been far more likely to let them live.

So how can we make sure our ads get seen? Many are hiring user experience experts to find the best way to implement ads on their sites which won’t bother the user, while still giving good CTRs. Figuring out ways to balance ads with quality user experience is becoming increasingly important to prevent driving more people to use ad-blocking software.

Another push many advertisers are making is turning to mobile. There aren’t as many options for blocking ads on mobile devices currently, which means advertisers are gaining their face time back by utilizing the platform. The huge growth of mobile usage is also driving adoption as they find new ways to get their message viewed. This will likely only be a temporarily solution to their dropping  ad viewership on the desktop as Apple added the ability to install ad-blockers to iOS 9, released last week. iOS devices currently drive 75% of Google’s mobile ad revenue, so the addition of ad-blocking on the iOS platform could be a huge hit for mobile advertisers.

It’s Not Too Late To Change

Paid advertisers are certainly taking a hit from those using ad-blockers. As the number of web users utilizing this software grows, the profits to advertisers shrinks. If advertisers don’t do something to change how they come across with this advertising medium, we could see most ads blocked in the future. While some are confident they’ll simply find a new way to reach the masses, it seems to make more sense to find current ways to reach those that don’t offend them to the point that they want to block you. Start thinking about how your own web ads come across and consider how you might change to better appease your viewers. Before it’s too late.

Author: Ben Brausen

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