The War Between Ad Blockers and Marketers: How Can Marketers Win This Battle?

Once, me and my friend were having coffee when suddenly she got upset whilst on her smartphone and yelled “Oh my god these ads are pain in my ass! They are everywhere!” Turns out she tried to go to a webpage but accidently clicked a pop-up ad. To be honest, as a marketer, I completely understand the existence and the reasons of using those ads, but as an online consumer, I do see A LOT of annoying ads.

Due to consumer empowerment in modern years, consumers have power to decide what advertising content to watch or skip. There has even been software developed such as “Adblock”, we’ll leave you to guess what it does. It is essential for marketers to be aware of this ad-blocking phenomenon and they have to do something by taking actions towards the ads or trying to have their consumers to adapt themselves into environment or design a better strategy to increase consumer engagement.

Why do consumers block ads?

The reason is simple, it is the human instinct which drives us to approach things that cause us pleasure and avoid those negative stimuli which makes us feel uncomfortable. There are three types of advertising avoidance.

-Cognitive avoidance

-Behavioural avoidance

-Mechanical avoidance

When consumers see something unpleasant or they are not interested in, they tend to ignore (cognitive avoidance) and avoid (behavioural avoidance) it. Moreover, some people are even installing ad blocking or ad filtering software/apps to eliminate or alter advertising content from a website and mobile application (mechanical avoidance). In fact, the majority of consumers think ad blocking has created a positive impact on the internet browsing experience, because they can enjoy the ads-free cyber space and they want to have control when they go onto the Internet.


However, many websites have tried to eliminate ad blocker problems by cutting off access or asking consumers to pay for the content, but is this actually helpful in resolving the problem? A survey of 1055 online users showed 28% of online users would stop visiting a website if they are blocked from accessing a site if they are using an ad blocker, and only 16% of respondents were willing to disable their ad blocker.

The evidence shows that people will do whatever they can to avoid those annoying ads and it may pose threats to those marketers. For example, an advertising organisation estimated that by 2020, $35 billion dollars per year will be lost as a result of blocked ads. It is a tremendous challenge for marketers to ease those ad blocking problems and find how to create interesting content which can engage consumers, make them approach ads rather than avoiding.

If marketers want to survive in this war, these three tips may prove helpful. 


  1. Respect Consumers

Most people get upset about online ads because those ads interrupt their online activities. Studies show that users were more responsive to the message if those ads appear without interrupting them, as showing up on the side spaces of websites or during natural breaks while website browsing.


  1. Creative Content

I believe we are all “wowed” by creative advertising. Creative content can be more memorable than ordinary informative content and it also can increase consumers’ brand perception approval and engagement rates.


  1. Demonstrate Relevance

Providing content that is relevant to the websites where the ads appear can also encourage consumer engagement. Relevant ads are easier and more effective towards target consumers with similar psychographic attributes, such as interests, lifestyle, personality and values.

Ad-blocking behaviours may be inevitable, because we can not force every single consumer to click on ads. However, marketers can reverse the situation by posing ads moderately and also using content that consumers may feel is interesting. This way, they will not try to avoid ads but see those ads as something meaningful and valuable.


What do you think?

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Stay “approach” (not “avoid”)  🙂

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