Interest in ad blocking software is rising with each passing year. A report co-written by Adobe and Dublin-based PageFair found that 198 million users actively use some version of ad blocking software as of June 2015. The rate of new users is rapidly rising in countries like the US and the UK, two markets that are very important for advertisers to deliver their messages.
So why do so many people hate ads?
People Prefer To Buy Not To Be Sold To
When you walk into a store, it’s for one of two reasons – either you need a product or service, or you simply want to take a look around.
Before getting 10 feet from the door, a pushy salesperson suddenly appears and begins pressing to make a sale. Things become even more uncomfortable after you tell the salesperson that you simply want to look around, yet the clerk still refuses to give you space. This marks the beginning of a very unpleasant shopping experience.
On the flip side, associates who welcome you into their store yet give you the space to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. . These salespeople are inviting and attentive for when you have questions, but allow you the freedom to wander through the store on your own terms. This is the ideal scenario, and you’re more likely to make a purchase from this type of salesperson than the pushy clerk.
People Want Uninterrupted Online Browsing
The retail scenario carries over to the online world. When you visit a website, you want to explore the page and absorb the content without being forcefully subjected to columns of instrusive ads.
What’s even more off-putting are the pop-up ads. These types of ads are incredibly frustrating to both the casual and repeat visitors as they negatively affect user experience. People who are especially exasperated by these interruptions actively avoid those sites in the future or exercise creative ways to avoid ads.
However, due to the number of businesses that rely on banners, pop-ups or even retargeted ads for revenue, users are pushed to find a solution to unwanted interruptions. As a result, a growing number of users are installing ad blocking software to mitigate those annoying inconveniences.
Who Is The Optimal Ad Block User?
According to Adobe and PageFair, ad blocking software is very popular among tech-savvy users, primarily male, who spend significant portions of their days online. A chart compiled by market research firm eMarketer, using data from the Adobe and PageFair report, indicates ad blocking software is most common among frequent visitors of gaming sites, news pages or group forums.
Millennials and future generations form the largest segment of the near 200 million people who use ad blocking software. Those user rates will continue to rise as future generations come online searching for content without interruptions.
With more people actively blocking ads, some publishers openly worry about how their businesses will be affected by ad blocking software. An interesting piece published on Columbia Journalism Review discusses this debate, which includes data from a second Adobe poll that found 80% of users are unwilling to pay any fees to make ads go away. The takeaway is that people don’t want ads and refuse to pay to make them go away.
What Marketing Influencers Think
Marketers recognize the writing on the wall. The rise in ad blocking software is evidence of a growing frustration towards traditional ads, requiring companies to seek alternative ways to communicate their messages to users.
Influencers recently convened in San Francisco for the ClickZ Live conference, a semi regular gathering of digital marketers to discuss and share emerging trends in the industry. Attendees agreed that now is the time to say no to ads, and invest more resources in content marketing solutions.
Content marketing encourages companies to plan, create, publish and measure content that adds real value for target audiences. This process allows brands to tell their stories and communicate benefits organically to build a real connection with users who view the content.
Since consumers have grown so distrustful of traditional ads, the goal of content marketing is to produce quality content so that a brand can establish trust and credibility with their followers. Facebook’s Matt Idema spoke in San Francisco, and suggested that companies must invest in content that will resonate across multiple platforms and devices to truly engage with their audiences.
Mobile Ad Blocking
Installing Adblock software used to be a nuisance for users, but developers have created simple plugins that can be added to online browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox. Once the plugin is installed, the ads are blocked.
Many publishers still target ads to mobile users where ad blocking software is less common, but even that strategy is at risk. Companies like AdBlock Plus have developed apps for Android devices that sync with Chrome or Firefox browsers. Apple intends to include its own ad blocking software in iOS 9, which will significantly reduce the number of ads seen by Safari users online and on mobile.
Mobile web browsing is growing rapidly since many users find surfing the web with a smartphone or tablet very easy and convenient. However, mobile users have little patience for anything other than information related to their search queries. Irrelevant ads are not positively received and encourage more mobile users to install ad blocking software.
Ad Blocking Is Here To Stay
Companies must end their over-reliance on advertisements to remain competitive in the modern marketing world. Trust, authority, reliability, and consistency are all traits that users want to see from companies before engaging with their websites.
Content marketing is the solution to a world that has moved on from traditional ads. Building a connection with customers through quality content will increase customer loyalty and allow businesses to expand the top of their funnels.
Content marketing is the future while traditional advertising is the past. Join the movement that says no to ads to make these interruptions and the software that blocks them irrelevant.