Brands have been battling the unspoken rule that consumers hate ads for years now.
But that simply isn’t true. Consumers don’t innately hate all advertising. They hate bad advertising.
Consumers overwhelmed by ineffective, interruptive advertising have been driven to employ ad-blocking software like Adblock Plus or Ghostery. The number of ad-blocking software users around the world has increased to 198 million as recently as June 2015, according to a report by Adobe and PageFair.
Approximately 45 million Internet users in the U.S. actively use the software, according to the report. And as word of mouth increases about the ease of installing such software in browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox spread, the rise in usage will only increase, PageFair CEO Sean Blanchfield says.
The use of ad-blocking software is especially prevalent in Europe and on sites that boast tech-savvy user bases like gaming sites. However, the trends for ad-blocking point upward for most sites today.
Consumers are demanding better content. It’s on advertisers to create the kind of content that inspires consumers to seek out rather than actively block.
The reason behind why most users choose to use such software lies in the notion that most online advertising can be seen as interruptive or as a nuisance. The trouble lies in the experience for the consumer, and it’s a race to see who can find a better business model first.
Some companies like Hulu have opted to simply block users who use ad-blocking software. Others like Google, Amazon and Microsoft paid Adblock Plus to have their ads unblocked. These are short-term solutions, but support the growing annual spending on online advertising which is expected to exceed 2014’s $51 billion this year.
Despite that fact, advertisers need to plan for the long-term future where consumers will increasingly look for varied content with different strategies for monetization.
After all, ad blocking is estimated to cost publishers over $22 billion in 2015 alone, according to the PageFair and Adobe report.
According to a May 2015 survey by Strata, 46.3 percent of U.S. ad agency professionals said ad-blocking software was somewhat of a concern for their agency or clients. If a majority of agency professionals don’t consider ad-blocking software a major concern yet, widespread adoption in coming years will change that.
It may be impossible to convince consumers to fall in love with online advertising. But with a well thought-out strategy and innovative execution, savvy marketers and good creative agencies can help fight the consumer’s real enemy: bad online advertising.
Mackenzie Mennucci, Content Specialist & Social Community Manager