Approximately 27% of Internet users block ads on their devices. This means that a very significant proportion of advertising messages do not reach an audience of about 1.2 billion people.
People are massively trying to clean out annoying inviting chants from websites, from browser versions of social networks, from online TV sites. A relatively new global market for ad blockers has emerged that is technically challenging and ethically very, very ambiguous.
To an uninformed layman, it may seem that stubborn users of blockers are some kind of marginalized people who “need the most”. But once you look at their number, it becomes clear that the private struggle against the dominance of advertising on personal devices is a serious, global phenomenon.
Blockers are in demand, and this specific market promises not fast, but still growth. Publishers and platforms are already losing billions of dollars from ad drops, including monsters like YouTube or China ‘s Sina.com.cn.
Interestingly, users of all kinds of ad blockers are often aware that their behavior endangers the earnings of sites that they themselves love and often visit. But the motivation to block ads is usually stronger than the idea that publishers (especially small ones) have to make a living somehow.
It is also curious that many successful ad blocker companies once started out as declarations of lofty ideas and relative disinterestedness, and today they themselves have turned into a kind of ad networks.
Why do people stubbornly cut out online advertising
GlobalWebIndex presented the results of a study that revealed in some detail the motivation of fans to block ads. This is mostly done by young people: 31% aged 16-24, 32% aged 25-34 and 20% aged 35-44. People over forty-five use blockers significantly less often: 11% at the age of 45-54 and only 6% at the age of 55-64.
Here are the main reasons why Internet users oppose advertising (percentages are not cumulative, it was possible to give several answers):
- too many ads (48%);
- it is annoying or irrelevant (47%);
- she is too pushy (44%);
- advertising contains viruses or is buggy (38%);
- takes up too much screen space (38%);
- using blockers speeds up page loading (33%);
- blockers allow you to get rid of video ads on web pages and TV platforms (29%);
- special software prevents video ads from being shown before watching shows or clips (29%);
- “Advertising violates my online privacy” (26%);
- “I want to stop using my personal data” (23%);
- blockers save device battery power (23%);
- blockers allow you to stop personalizing ads (22%).
If we talk about in which countries the culture of blocking online ads is most widespread, then we can look at Statista data . Here are the five champions:
- Greece (42%)
- Poland (36%)
- France (34%)
- Turkey (33%)
- Germany (33%)
The United States is in 19th place with a score of 27%.
Troll under the bridge
People are in principle inconsistent, impulsive, tend to change their minds on a particular issue and even their entire worldview. Their motivation for using ad blockers can be, for example, the following: “I give money for the Internet, and there’s nothing for me to show anything there – it’s already been paid.” In fact, Internet users block ads in such impressive numbers, simply because they can , and that it’s free.
Few people think about whether it is worth doing this. Although according to a survey by HubSpot in the US, 83% of Internet surfers admit that not all advertising messages are “bad”. And 77% percent would like to have not a total ad blocker, but some kind of “filter”. Well, for example, to cut off only pop-ups and video ads.
What do the trolls do next? They roll out “white lists of acceptable ads.” So, for example, did the German company Eyeo, the manufacturer of the popular Adblock Plus blocker.
In short, these companies came up with this: they take money from a business that is willing to pay so that its advertising is not “cut out” on the sites. Think about it: businesses are already paying publishers to place ads, and now they have to pay third parties as well so that they do not block it. This is a classic “troll under the bridge”, no matter how beautifully the creators of ad blockers themselves try to present the situation.
And they try
High-tech trolls create organizations like the Acceptable Advertising Committee (AAC). This is supposedly an alliance of the blocker manufacturers themselves, publishers and lawyers acting on behalf of Internet users. And these comrades seem to be developing some kind of “standards” for acceptable advertising, which allow them to justify “white lists” (and take money from businesses for getting into them).
One would expect such committees to be non-profit organizations, but that was not the case. In particular, the same AAC is a German LLC (GmbH), a branch of the Eyeo commercial company (the creator of Adblock Plus, as mentioned above).
Uh-uh… what? In fact, every self-respecting country has its own state law on advertising, which clearly explains what can be shown to an Internet user and what, ah-ah-ah, cannot. States are, of course, bridge trolls in their own right, but at least they are recognized by the majority of their citizens. Many even have democracy.
“Who are you guys?” I would like to ask representatives of the AAS. “And by what right can you bend publishers from the USA, Russia, Brazil – yes anywhere?” As you can see, in fact, ad blockers have created an artificial problem today. And business has to fight with it whoever it is.
And the men did not know
Ask the average user of some blocker – is he even aware of what is happening? Most likely no. Residents install browser extensions and mobile apps that cut ads and enjoy consuming content on “clean” sites. The inhabitants do not think at all about what the creators of this content will eat.
People, in principle, hardly move their brains, if it is not about their own stomach. Therefore, they are happy to take advantage of the freebie, creating the conditions for someone (publishers, platforms and advertisers) to be forced to feed the trolls – self-appointed arbiters on the issue of “acceptability” of advertising.
Most likely, it is time for legislators to enter the game here. If some German LLC allows itself to take away income from the same media outlets in Russia in an obviously vulgar way, this is not normal. We need to protect our own economy. The author of these lines does not believe that he is writing this , but in this case he wholeheartedly advocates the legislative restriction of the distribution of ad blockers in Runet – it does not matter if they are foreign or not. We have a national advertising law. Thank you all, but we do not need additional trolls in the market, there are enough state ones.
Blockers will not be banned for a long time, but what should businesses do?
As we learned above from RBC and its sources, until 2024, there seems to be no need to worry about the impact of blockers on online business. This, of course, is doubtful, because even if “only” a fifth of the local Internet audience uses them. It is already painful. But let’s be realistic – until Yandex and other large Internet companies, which are partly listened to in various Kremlins, speak out loudly on this matter, nothing will move in the legislation.
The only compelling way for advertisers to combat programmatic ad blocking is good old content marketing . The way out is to produce your own interesting materials for the user in any genre and roll them out on web pages in the form of a main dish.
No ad blocker will be able to take it away from the audience in this case, because such content. Neither in the code, nor in the headings, nor in the headings, nor in the notes, has any indication that it is in any way advertising. And blockers will also not be able to cut links to specific landing pages (shops, company websites), because . How will they distinguish a direct advertising link from a direct link to some important source of information? It is manually necessary to sit – people, not algorithms. “Trolls” will not pull this, because the task is approaching the level of the “Great Chinese Firewall”.
That is, well, is it indecent – to get rid of advertising on the web for an ordinary person?
Well, uh… yes. Strictly speaking, the Internet strongly resembles the biosphere of planet Earth. It has its parasites, its donors, its symbiotic systems. And its own ecology. A business as ethically rubbery as free ad blocker production upsets an already precarious balance.
It is undoubtedly spoiled by some conditionally “content” platforms. For example, the main social networks of the planet are also not white and fluffy. They themselves do not produce the content that appears in their interfaces, but rather parasitize on their own users. They create content for free, and they watch ads built into it.
But the thing is that in this case, the user can choose the social network to their liking. A business that conducts its difficult SMM in social networks – too.
But when an obvious troll comes and starts dumping all advertising in general. Wherever it can reach, and then starts selling places on the “white lists” … The desired “simple person” definitely wants to participate in this? Especially if it was explained to him that blockers, among other things, are ruining small businesses. And micro-publishers, who are also,. In general, “ordinary people” and generally do not sail on yachts the length of a multi-storey building. Bought with windfall advertising revenues?
To that billion-plus Internet users who get rid of ads on their device screens with the help of free software. I want to say: “Friends, maybe you should have studied the issue a little deeper before pressing the “install” button? After all, decisions that are simple and innocent at first glance. Sometimes lead to serious consequences for entire communities of people,. The existence of which you don’t even know.
Fans of the principle “let the fittest survive” do not want to say anything. Just to remind you that every young and strong person can suddenly meet with a car. That has taken off around the corner o,. There, pick up a new virus in a nice little coffee shop. And in a matter of days or minutes, from the strong to become the weakest.