Why People Use Ad Blockers And How they Impact Businesses

The ad-driven business model of internet plagues users with unwanted advertisements. Weary of these distractions, people use ad blockers to regulate the quality of their browsing experience.

According to a survey from Visual Objects:

  • Most people with ad blockers have used them for more than a year
  • Ad blockers are most frequently used on desktops

Visual Objects’ research suggests that ad blocker technology is pivotal to a quality online experience among an increasingly tech-savvy population.

Businesses need to be aware of ad blockers’ effects on their websites and overall digital marketing strategies.

Understanding why people use ad blockers can help your business can do to both support your user’s web experience and sustain your advertising model.

Use this article to learn:

  • How and why consumers use ad blockers
  • Where ad blockers are most common
  • How to create ads that people won’t block

Ad Blockers Are a Fixture of Web Use

Ad blockers first appeared in 2003, according to AdBlockPlus, and have since grown more user-friendly. According to Statista, one in three computers has at least one type of ad blocker enabled, a number that has doubled since 2014.

Blocking ads 15 years ago consisted of blocking animations and flash. Today, however, browser extensions have refined and updated the basic technology of blocking flash, making ad blockers more accessible than ever before.

Many internet browsers also block intrusive ads on websites automatically. Google Chrome’s recent efforts to enforce the Better Ads Standard is one high-profile example of browsers’ attempts to improve their UX by limiting disruptive ads.

Businesses can expect consumer demand for ad blocking technology to rise, especially as ad blocker technology grows more user-friendly and accessible.

Ad Blockers Are Different on Mobile Devices

Only 28% of people use an ad blocker on a mobile device, according to the Visual Objects survey.

Desktop browsers such as Google Chrome allow people to install ad blockers as a plug-in within the browser itself. No such mechanism is available to mobile users, so people must seek out and install this technology on their own.

Mobile users are also less inclined to pursue this process on their own, as the idea of ad-free mobile experience may not even occur to them – consider that 87% of users’ time on mobile devices is spent on apps, and most apps do not allow ad blockers to work.

This suggests that businesses have an opportunity to advertise on mobile.

Businesses looking to circumvent ad blockers by targeting mobile users should do so with caution. Google’s Better Ads Standard extend to Chrome’s mobile browser, meaning intrusive ads will be blocked for mobile web users.

Ads are also more disruptive to the mobile web user experience. Ads that open a new window, take up large shares of the screen or include autoplay video or sound are more frustrating on mobile because they inhibit users’ access to content.

For example, this ad from the New York Times iPhone app shows how ads interrupt mobile UX.

The ad takes up almost half of the screen size, requiring users to scroll several times before it is out of sight.

If businesses want to redirect advertising dollars towards mobile apps, they should seek alternatives to a traditional banner and pop-up ads. Other approaches such as Influencer marketing and affiliated content are less intrusive and often add value for consumers.

People Use Ad Blockers to Safeguard Their User Experience

People dislike ads because they diminish their online browsing experience.

People are busy and seek a direct line to their chosen content. And yet, ads are perceived to be more prevalent and intrusive than ever.

Ads result in a poor site UX, both by slowing site performance and distracting users with flashy media that diverts attention from the main content.

Businesses looking to embed videos on their websites should work carefully with their web designers to ensure that videos only play when users click on them.

Ad blocking technology is often the easiest way for people to secure a peaceful and rewarding site experience, so ensure that ads on your site don’t clash with your audience.

Any placed ads should complement the site layout and design elements, rather than irritate the visitor with bothersome graphics or videos.

Web Designers Help Businesses Navigate Ad Blockers

Consumers have adopted ad blockers to regain control over their web browsing experience.

Ad blockers are most prevalent on desktops, so companies can find success with mobile web or in-app advertising, as people are more accepting of ads on these channels.

In turn, businesses must respect that their visitors want to consume ad-free content, and deliver a website UX to match.

Conduct research to see how the best web designers find creative ways to integrate advertorial content with a user experience free from pop-ups, autoplay videos, and other intrusions that drive ad blocker downloads.

Consumers use ad blockers to improve their overall user experience on their own terms. It’s time for businesses to explore alternative advertising strategies and optimize their websites for ad-weary users.

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