There is a myth that still permeates the advertising industry and publishing community that users of ad-blocking software are a ‘careless’ lost segment that cannot be won back for advertisers. This myth needs to be debunked.
That’s because it is not only untrue, as I’ll explain further below, but it is also short-sighted to dismiss an entire demographic and potential audience based on such a myth.
The origins of this powerful industry myth are based on the perceptions and experiences that advertisers and publishers had with ad-blocking software years ago, back in its earliest forms, when it was, admittedly, a pretty uncompromising solution to a complex problem.
Those early uncompromising forms of ad-blocking software, which effectively stopped all ads from appearing on any website that a user wanted to view, were successful for one very simple reason: they gave the user a sense of complete control over their online experience.
Simply put: no more ads that impair their experience of their favorite news or other websites.
Total ad blocking replaced with ad filtering
These days total ad blocking has all but been replaced with far more sophisticated forms of ad filtering, for the simple reason that many users recognize the fact that advertisers and their publishing industry clients require income from online advertising in order publish the content they want and, at the same time, to keep the internet free.
‘Total’ ad blocking is very clearly in decline, with only one major desktop ad blocker still providing it out of the box. And as for users, our latest findings based on a recent study with research undertaken by YouGov revealed that the majority (80 percent) of online users acknowledge the importance of advertising to a free internet: a figure that represents both users of content-blocking software as well as those users who surf the web ‘naked’ (i.e. without the user of any ad-filtering or blocking software).
The fact is that this deeply-ingrained myth, based on the idea that – as a group – ad-blocking users are a lost segment who don’t care about the importance of a free internet, needs to be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.
High level of awareness of the digital economy
Our research with YouGov demonstrated that the vast majority of internet users display a high level of awareness of the digital advertising economy that enables them to access free news and other content on their favorite websites.
Most publishers have decided to reach ad-blocking users on their own terms, rather than finding technical solutions to circumvent them. Our research revealed that 68 percent of ad-blocking users would be ‘very annoyed’ if a website disabled their ad blocker without their permission.
Instead, it is imperative that advertisers understand that ad-blocking consumers seek a middle ground. Online users are looking for an acceptable balance of quality content supported by ads that are relevant, non-invasive and non-duplicitous.
The future of online advertising has to involve creating and delivering high-quality, non-intrusive ads that strongly appeal to a specific user community, because this is a fair exchange that the vast majority of users are more than willing to accept.
And that’s exactly why the Acceptable Ads ecosystem – presided over by an independent, cross-industry non-profit, the Acceptable Ads Committee – delivers a parallel digital ads supply chain representing around 200 million ad-filtering users to all publishers and advertisers who want to reach this demographic.
Transparency is key. Understanding the online experience your users want is invaluable in delivering them ads that work for them.
For more information on the research conducted by eyeo and YouGov, please see the link here.