Ad blocking – the solutions


Almost 15% of British adults online are using ad blocking software – so how can we tackle this? Laura Scott, Associate Director, Digital Planning at Dentsu Aegis, looks at some of the solutions.

Laura Scott Laura Scott Associate Director, Digital Planning Dentsu Aegis Network ad blocking iab advertising

With the IAB reporting that almost 15% of British adults online are currently using ad blocking software, and in an age where viewability is high on client agendas, we need to consider why one in seven British adults is implementing this software online and what we, as advertisers, can do to ensure our campaigns continue to deliver against our client’s business objectives.

The IAB study found that the top demographic group for blocking ads is 18-24 year olds, a truly digital savvy, millennial generation. They are using the blocking software because of ads being interruptive (73%) and annoying (55%).

So it bodes the question, why do users feel like this about online advertising? When Your Online Choices was launched in February 2013, Google saw a 35% increase in searches around ad blocking (Source: Google Trends). The launch was picked up heavily by mainstream media, giving users a problem they hadn’t previously considered and a solution at once. Ultimately increasing the buzz around, and consideration of, blocking software.

In addition to this, we have seen a shift to digital brand plans featuring high impact formats and rising star units as standard, with the number of publishers offering them significantly higher than it was 18 months ago. While studies have shown that these formats drive cut through and have a positive effect on brand metrics, have we taken over the internet, cluttered content and driven users to want to cut out the noise and shouting from hundreds of advertisers a day?

As advertisers, this increasing trend around ad blocking, especially amongst lucrative 18-24 year old millennials needs to be accounted for when we plan our media to ensure we continue to deliver campaigns that deliver against client challenges.

Gaming specific sites have a high percentage of their tech savvy users implementing ad blocking software and have already started to work with the ad blocking tech to enable their precious ad $ to still put forward a brand image to the users (despite not showing the full creative).

Outside of this, native integrated units and branded content are great formats for driving a brand message while not feeling interruptive or annoying. Content has seen a meteoric rise on client’s agendas over the last few years and with native formats set to become common place in the programmatic space over the next few months, these are the kinds of formats advertisers need to think about using to complement their evolving media plans and ensure campaigns continue to successfully deliver against client’s objectives.

Laura Scott Laura Scott Associate Director, Digital Planning Dentsu Aegis Network ad blocking iab advertising
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