How to Regain Ad-Blocking Consumers

Two thirds of U.S. consumers who use ad blockers are willing to uninstall them–under the right conditions, that is.

This data comes from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) new report “Ad Blocking: Who Blocks Ads, Why, and How to Win Them Back” done in partnership with C3Research. And while these findings might bring a smile to marketers’ faces, the study shows that the ad-blocking community is still a significant and growing one.

The companies surveyed 1,292 computer users and 201 mobile users in the U.S. for the report. Of these participants, 26% say they use ad blockers on their computers and 15% block ads on their smartphones. Seventeen percent also say they’re likely to start using ad blockers in the next few months.

However, there seems to be some confusion about what exactly ad blockers are. According to the data, 40% of respondents originally said that they were using ad blockers; however, this number dropped to 26% when some respondents realized that they were actually using antivirus software or pop-up blockers built into their browsers.

So, what’s the lure of ad blockers anyway? When browsing online, consumers want to be able to get to their desired content as quickly as possible and experience few interruptions, notes the report. And when websites fail to deliver this experience, consumers sometimes turn to ad blockers to meet their needs. Privacy, security, and load times can be viable reasons they rely on them, too.

Consider: Participants who use ad blockers on their computers cite navigating sites more easily, disliking the feeling of being targeted, and finding ad-free sites more appealing as their top reasons for using them. Likewise, respondents who use ad blockers on their smartphones say having to deal with slower browsing experiences or page load times due to ads and being able to navigate sites more easily as their main motivations. Ads that block content, show a long video promotion before a short video, or follow them down the page as they scroll are some of the ones that bug blockers the most.

However, there are steps marketers can take to win these consumers back. After all, 20% of people who were former ad block users no longer use them.

Thirty percent of respondents say having ad blockers prevent them from viewing their desired content convinced them to stop using them, and 29% of participants say continually seeing messages requesting them to turn off their ad blockers caused them to do the same.

The report also advises marketers to do the following to prevent users from adopting ad blockers:

·         Give consumers control over the types of ads they do and don’t want to see (such as by providing a video-skip button or a thumbs-up or thumbs-down ad rating system).

·         Offer them a streamlined experience (i.e. avoid ads that block content, slow down loading time, or follow them down the page).

·         Reassure them that the site is safe (i.e. inform them that the ads don’t contain viruses or inhibit their experience)

If consumers are already using an ad blocker, the report suggests asking them to turn it off and to prevent them from viewing their desired content as a last resort.

In addition to these tips, the IAB recommends ensuring that all ads are LEAN:

Light: The ad files are small to prevent lengthy load times.

Encrypted: They’re safe, secure, and malware- or virus-free.

Ad choice supported: They allow consumers to opt out of unwanted data collection practices.

Non-invasive: They don’t shake, blink, or automatically start playing audio.

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