How Focusing on Mobile Can Overcome the Ad Blocking Threat

ad blocking, ad blockers, advertising, digital advertising

Ad blocking, love it or hate it, is here to stay. According to a 2015 PageFair and Adobe report, there were more than 45 million ad blocking users in the United States alone, representing an increase of 48 percent from the previous year. (During the same period there was an increase of 41 percent globally!) It’s understandable why marketers and publishers are worried about the impact ad blocking could have on their businesses in the future.

To underscore this concern, according to Adweek, mobile ad blockers are among the top downloads in the Apple App Store. And while Apple may have very little to lose by this since the bulk of its revenue isn’t dependent on mobile advertising, it should still raise an eyebrow or two as it’s a telling sign about consumer appetite (or lack thereof) for mobile advertising.

So, given the growing prevalence of ad blocking across the digital advertising ecosystem, a couple questions immediately come to mind: 1) what has driven the rise in ad blocker adoption and 2) how can national brands reach local audiences without falling victim?

Why Choose Ad Blockers?

Digital advertising campaigns can vary widely in terms of message, creative, and media placement.When campaigns are done well, consumers recognize, even if anecdotally, that advertising has its proper time and place in the digital space. However, when advertising starts to detract from a desired end user experience – whether by slowing down page downloads, via annoying pop-ups, or as a result of irrelevant messaging – it becomes so much easier for consumers to pull the trigger and install an ad blocker.

In general, users tend to adopt ad blockers for a number of reasons:

  • Increased page load times, which becomes even more of a nuisance for consumers who have mobile data limits
  • Irrelevant or overly intrusive ads that either attempt to sell people something they do not want or need (in any way) or simply act as roadblocks throughout while browsing.
  • Ads are a security risk that could contain malware allowing hackers to have access to personal information stored on computers or mobile devices.
  • A lack of control or even the option to turn off irrelevant ads.

The important takeaway here is that people do not want their web browsing experience negatively impacted by digital advertising in any way – and should that happen, an ad blocker is a sure fire option to save the day. As long as ads do not get in the way of the overall user experience, brands have little fear when it comes to ad blockers (especially within their own in-app or mobile web experiences).

The Promise of Mobile

The PageFair and Adobe report mentioned above also states that just 1.6 percent of ad blocker traffic comes from mobile devices even though mobile accounts for a whopping 38 percent of all web traffic. That’s due to change over time, though, as this disparity represents the fact that mobile advertising is still being notoriously underutilized – especially for deploying targeted local marketing campaigns.

Given the fact that ad blocker usage in mobile is significantly lower than in other commonly used platforms, mobile devices are the perfect platform for reaching, engaging, and converting target audiences at a local level. And as more people start defaulting to in-app search to find exactly what they’re looking for – whether the YP℠ app for researching local businesses, social media apps for navigating through the social web, or productivity apps and tools for everything in between – the time spent on mobile devices will only continue to increase, creating more of an opportunity for brands to engage potential customers in more relevant, real-time ways. Location-based mobile advertising is a great way to accomplish this.

What makes mobile such a strong platform for consumer engagement is the simple fact that users are already highly receptive to everything they’ve chosen to install on their devices. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of brands to create app- and mobile web-based user experiences that inspire deeper, on-going engagement. This includes either choosing to have fewer ads as part of that experience or simply weaving in more targeted and relevant mobile ads that actually add value to a user’s experience with your brand (always the end goal!).

Either way, creating better, more relevant, less intrusive mobile experiences will always be welcomed by users. Producing quality content, an enjoyable user experience, and relevant advertising – the kind that doesn’t create any roadblocks for users as they engage with your brand – is one way brands can overcome the ad blocking threat, especially in light of what we’ve seen take place in the desktop space. For this reason, mobile is proving to be one of the best and most effective ways for national brands to connect with local audiences.

If you haven’t taken the deep dive into location-based mobile advertising, the experts at YP can help– via our full suite of marketing products and solutions that help national brands target, reach, engage, and convert potential customers like no other.


Photo Credit: Kagenmi via Dollar Photo Club

Categorized in: