What Does Ad Blocking Software Mean For Your Business?

Last year, a reported £5 billion was spent on digital advertising in the UK, £526 million of which can be credited to mobile marketing. Of this, it is estimated that small businesses are currently spending £731 million on online advertising every year. This figure is forecast to increase dramatically in coming years.

As businesses become increasingly focused on digital and online mediums, they are prepared to spend more of their budgets on advertising in these channels. Online ads are more affordable options for SMEs than traditional advertising methods such as television and radio.

 Enabling marketers to directly target prospective clients on sites catering to shared interests, online advertising is a great way to build a brand and get your message out there. But as online advertising spend increases and so too do the number of ads competing for attention on websites, consumers are becoming increasingly aware and irritated by ads invading their online space.

Your worst nightmare.

22.7% of UK internet users are blocking ads. They are blocking the ads that you have paid to get on to websites to be seen, heard of, talked about and maybe sell something to someone as well. These ads are not being seen by your audience. 22.7% of your online ad spend is being wasted.

What can marketers do? Consumers find ads annoying and so they block them. They dislike their online experience being interrupted by annoying, intrusive, irrelevant ads that scream at them to buy a particular product or try a new service. Many online adverts are also perceived as scam.

Are we heading for an ad-free internet?

The revolution has just happened! Online marketing buffs are still basking in the glory of social media as the saviour of small- and medium-sized business advertising. It can’t possibly be over just yet, can it?

In response to protests from marketers and advertisers that they need their ads to be seen and from website owners themselves that most of their revenue is made from ad spending, ad blocking software providers have pointed out that they do not advocate an ad-free internet.

Rather, they propose an online space in which adverts are not annoying or intrusive and do not compromise user experience. Ads should be helpful, enjoyable and interesting. Let’s face it; this is likely to be far more effective anyway.

A flashing advert on TV might stick in your mind, but a flashing, garish ad online is just another grain of sand on the beach. Gaudy imagery in the online advertising sphere is expected and irritating: it is not memorable.

Where is this going?

AdBlock Plus has released guidelines to advertisers who do not want to see their ads banned. Specifically, in order to be displayed on devices on which AdBlock Plus software is installed, ads must meet the following criteria:

  1. Acceptable Ads are not annoying.
  2. Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort page content.
  3. Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.
  4. Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.
  5. Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site or tweet that we are on.

So, ads that meet the “acceptable” criteria will still feature on sites where they are relevant, non-disruptive, interesting and honest. The key thing is not to be annoying in the way that you advertise online.

A dream come true?

The intent of AdBlock Plus is explicitly not to ban all ads on all websites ever. The company argues simply that online marketers must work harder to produce better quality content. Just as Google has refined its search algorithms in recent months to refine the quality of search and place emphasis on content rather than keywords, so too has AdBlock Plus emphasised the need for marketers to pay more attention to the way they present their message.

It is about the refinement of advertising practices. Your small business must rise to the challenge to meet the requirements of AdBlock Plus and other ad-blocking software providers in order to remain visible to all users on all sites. This is not the end of online advertising, it is the beginning.

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