If a Site Isn’t Ad-Blocker Friendly, More Consumers Would Choose Their Ad Blocker Over Site Access
For the past eight years, inbound marketing and sales software company Hubspot has published an annual report titled State of Inbound. Hubspot surveys thousands of marketers and salespeople worldwide about their challenges, priorities, and strategies. All those tasty tidbits of information are then compiled into an extensive analysis report that not only presents the data but predicts the future.
One thing that stood out to me in this year’s report was the following:
Let’s face it: People hate ads. Ads are becoming more and more obnoxious and intrusive. Plus, they are everywhere, invading every corner of the Internet! No one wants to be sold car insurance or shown a wine delivery system while they read up on the latest marketing trends or news story. (Wait, a box of wines delivered right to my doorstep, you say? Now that I might be interested in…)
I’ve discussed previously on the Dowitcher blog that ad blocking is the problem on hand for online publishers. The question up for debate is how can publishers and content creators bring in revenue without creating an ad experience that is disruptive, annoying and causes consumers to download ad blockers. Because that is exactly what Hubspot has found: people think online ads are THE WORST and turn to ad blockers to mitigate the problem, which in turn hurts companies. The proof is in the numbers:
- 429 million people around the world use an ad blocker
- 500 million downloads of Adblock Plus worldwide
- Ad blocking cost publishers $22 billion in 2015, by 2020 $35 billion a year will be lost
- 73% of people dislike pop up ads
- 70% of consumers have a lower opinions of brands that use pop up ads, while 51% think less of brands who use autoplaying online video ads.
What can be done? Is there no hope for our ad blocker woes?
Websites have tried to adapt to the widespread adoption of ad blockers. Some publishers (e.g. Google and Amazon) pay to allow ads that have been whitelisted. Others attempt to block the blockers using tools like Secret Media or technologies such as PageFair to get around ad blocking extensions. Many experiment with techniques to get users to pay for content (think subscriptions, donations, one-time fees) or ways to nicely ask visitors to their site to turn off ad blocking. A few publishers allow users to read a certain number of articles before restricting access and asking for payment. And still others completely block their content to readers who enable ad blockers.
But let’s revisit that first statistic I shared: 28% of people would stop going to a website altogether if their access to said site was blocked because they use an ad blocker. Blocking access to ad block users might not be the best tactic!
83% of people say they recognize that not all ads are bad but they want the choice to filter out the bad ones. 77% would rather use an ad filter than block completely. Consumers understand that ads are how publishers make revenue. They just don’t understand why those ads have to be so aggressive and annoying. This new Hubspot data says that more people would rather leave the site – and their opinion of the brand or company would greatly diminish – than turn off their ad blocker.
Here’s the light at the end of the tunnel: People aren’t hard set against ads. In fact, a majority of Hubspot’s respondents say they’re onboard with them – as long as the ads are not annoying.
This feeling indicates there are workarounds for advertisers and publishers. Clearly, the Internet needs to be rid of the bad guys (pop up ads, mobile ads that take up the entire screen, heavy ads that slow load speeds, auto play videos, etc.) There’s a direct correlation between bad experiences from online ads and the adoption of ad blockers so let’s pay attention to consumer behavior and adapt our ad strategies. From here on out let’s all agree to publish only nice, neutral ads that don’t annoy our consumers.
Here’s what to do to keep that 28% from leaving your website:
- Implement native ads: These are sponsored content, whether it’s a graphic, video, or article, which has the same look and feel as other content but is harder to block. Native ads are read by 25% more consumers than banner ads.
- Sell a premier version: Consider selling a higher-priced ad-free version of your service or product.
- Provide an ad-light experience that is not disruptive for the user: Limit the number of ads and begin to get rid of those moving, auto play, pop up ads.
- Focus on creating content that is engaging and relevant to your target audience.
People turn to ad blockers because they find ads annoying and disruptive. Ad blockers solve that problem and aid in creating a seamless user experience. For marketers and advertisers, it is time to concentrate on creating advertising, such as native ads, that are more in line with the branding and feel of a platform.
Want to learn more about the growth and future of inbound marketing and other industry trends? Download the full State of Inbound below.