Internet users love blocking ads. Just consider these statistics from a 2015 study:
- Publishers lost $22 billion from ad blocking in 2015
- More than 198 million internet users block ads
- The number of ad blockers grew 41% in 2015
- There are 45 million ad blockers in the United States (a 48% uptick from 2014)
- There are 12 million ad blockers in the United Kingdom (an 82% increase from 2014)
If there’s one takeaway from the above, it’s that more and more desktop internet users are becoming privy to ad-blocking technologies — which in turn is costing advertisers and publishers a lot of money. While there’s not widespread adoption just yet, the numbers are growing at a tremendous pace.
What happens when ad-blocking technologies invariably spill over to the world of mobile?
The biggest threat to mobile advertising will materialize if (or, more realistically, when) ad-blocking becomes widely adopted. From a publisher’s standpoint, this means that readers could block the ads on their pages. Take this scenario to its logical conclusion, and advertisers would eventually go away — which means publishers won’t get paid.
Not If, But When
Like it or not, it’s only a matter of time before ad-blocking begins significantly penetrating the mobile space. Let’s face it: Ads are annoying, so there’s obviously a built-in demand for ad blocking technology.
Most consumers don’t realize that the only way the publishers/apps/websites can exist is due to advertising revenue, and without such revenue, they will cease to exist. If ad blocking happens on a large scale, publishers — or at least the traditional ones — will go out of business.
Ad-blocking won’t only affect the mobile web. Soon, there will be tech to help block ads on your phone too. Publishers need to determine the best way to circumvent these ad-blockers, before they exist.
But fear not! When you have very good contextualized ads, you’ll have better outcomes. Take a look at Amazon, which uses Criteo for retargeting. This helps them give the right product suggestion to the right person at the right time — which is any advertiser’s dream.
But There’s Still Hope
Despite the seemingly inevitable rise of ad blocking on the mobile web, advertisers — and publishers by extension — are not completely out of luck. Here’s what they can do to remain relevant:
- Native advertising: Whether it’s sponsored content, white papers that showcase thought leadership, or blogs that provide readers with helpful tips, native advertising allows companies to connect with their audiences in an unintrusive authentic way, relevant to the context the advertisement is being served within.
- Sophisticated algorithms to make sure ads are relevant: There’s no use in trying to figure out which customers might like which ads. Let technology do the dirty work for you and programmatically place the right ads in front of the right person, at the right time.
- Different forms of ads: Gone are the days of the magazine ad and the billboard. Successful advertisers use a mix of video, rich media, and audios ads — not just on the mobile web, but also in podcasts and on Spotify, for example.
So long as advertisers aren’t afraid to try new things and get a little creative, mobile advertising will sustain.
At first glance, it may seem tricky for advertisers to succeed in an ever-changing digital landscape. To remain relevant, advertisers have to continue to evolve.
Today, technology and algorithms run the world. Advertisers that don’t have the technology behind their ads will get weeded out — it’s as simple as that.
Those, like Spotad, who are using technology and a variety of ad formats to serve ads on mobile devices will prevail. The key is making sure the ad is contextually relevant and not annoying/invasive/perceived as clutter.
While advertisers may have to switch up their game a bit, the ones who are willing to try something new will quickly find how technology enhances their effectiveness. As for those that don’t? Someone’s already writing their obituaries.