Why ad blocking is a problem that all must work together to resolve


Ad blocking is a catch-22 situation that must be resolved, according to a recent event on the subject held by the ISBA. According to a study by IAB and YouGov 15% of adults in the UK online are currently using ad blocking software but more than half (56%) don’t realise that means a subsequent loss of revenue to the website concerned. This of course leads to the risk that such sites can no longer produce content that such users enjoy freely.

Globally 7% of the world’s 3.3 billion internet users are said to be using ad blocking software – a figure that in itself is up 41% on last year. The trend is particularly having an impact on those advertisers trying to target tech savvy 18 to 24 year old males since it is this demographic in particular that is not only watching less traditional TV but also ad blocking online.

For consumers of course the growing trend of ad blocking is of little surprise since they often find the distraction and subsequent performance impacts of ads appearing uninvited onscreen on both desktop and mobile annoying and disrupting.

The ISBA event brought together advertisers, publishers, broadcasters and ad blockers to understand how they could all work better together to solve the ripple impact that adblocking can have.

ISBA recommends that members ask their media agencies what reassurances they can give to mitigate the problem of ad blocking on their marketing communications. Bob Wootton, ISBA’s director of media and advertising, said that a balance needed to be restored.

“It is important to acknowledge that there is no silver bullet to ad blocking,” he said. “The ‘old compact’ between advertiser and user revolved around the moot/implicit understanding that most of the media and content wouldn’t exist without the subsidy from the ads, so they were uninvited but fortunately relatively benign guests, and therefore tolerated. We are now in a situation where ads are not tolerated.”

This needs to change, said Wootton. “We must go back to the equilibrium where ads are tolerated again. If this is not tackled and resolved soon we will all lose out and the internet will be a lot poorer experience,” he said.

Michael Todd, industry relations manager at Google, said that creating standards would be key but urged partners to work together. “To be effective standards will need to be empirical, global and enforceable. It’s a challenge that Google is determined to meet head-on working in partnership with ISBA, the IAB and the wider industry,” he said.  


For more information on events like these, visit Marketing Events.

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