How to fend off the adpocalypse


It’s been a while since I’ve written about the ad blocking war that is being fought between advertisers and consumers. Every time advertisers find a way to get behind ad blocking enemy lines, ad blocking companies tinker around with a little bit of code and instantly launch a counter attack.

The ad block war is being fought on two fronts, on Mobile and Desktop devices. While the war on desktop ads has been rumbling on since the first window opened, in comparison, mobile ad blocking has just started.

In every war, there are casualties and there is no bigger a casualty than online publishers. In the world of downloading films and music illegally, it seems that modern day society just wants everything for free.

While you may not see using an ad blocker as piracy (and you would be correct) the principle is the same, yet a little bit more diluted. Just like an artist or director makes a piece of content to ultimately monetise it, an online publisher wishes to do the same.The main difference being that publishers rely on brands to pay them to advertise on their sites and artists/filmmakers rely on the sales of their content.  The principle is the same though. If you download a piece of content illegally you’re getting it for free, and if you read an article with ad block on you are also getting it for free.

Now I’m not going to lie to you and say I don’t use an ad-blocker, because I do, and as this PageView report shows, I’m not the only one. There’s are at least 11million devices in the UK with it installed.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 11.19.45

Source: PageFair 

What is interesting about this research is that at a glance you would think that globally, Mobile ad blocking is a lot more popular than Desktop ad blocking. This isn’t necessarily the case. In countries like China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, there are more mobile devices compared to desktops. Mobile ad blocking is also beneficial in countries with poorer mobile networks with lower bandwidth, as pages load quicker and use fewer data.

On the other hand, The UK, US and Germany use Desktop ad blocking more than their counterparts, but the adoption of mobile ad blocking is on the rise but at a much slower rate. This is partly because mobile ad blockers are often less effective than on desktops and laptops.

eMarketer estimates that 41.1% of millennials will use ad blockers this year. They estimate the level will be considerably lower among Gen X internet users, at 26.9% and 13.9% for baby boomers.


So, what is the secret weapon to win the war of ad blocking?

That’s easy … social media advertising on mobile. I’m not bias, the stats speak for themselves

86% of smartphone users recall seeing mobile ads in apps within the first few days of them being shown, with half acting on them (IAB)

A recent study by the IAB shows that two-thirds of smartphone users use their device every 30 mins while 90% of users use their device to surf the internet. 84% primarily use apps (IAB)blog 2Source: IAB


Social media usage is growing steadily each year. These engagement figures mean that social networking now accounts for a third of our daily internet activities.(GWI)

blog 3Source: GWI


IAB believe that Social media has contributed to the overall growth of mobile advertising in 2016 (IAB)

blog 4

Of course, all these stats shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but all the main measurement and reporting companies are telling the same story. As the popularity of mobile, social and ad blocking increases it makes sense to target people where ad blocking is low and user activity is high.

Native advertising is one of the least intrusive forms of advertising and is generally more accepted. This is how companies like Facebook have come to dominate the digital advertising landscape.

I’m not saying Social is the only solution to breaking through ad blocks defensive lines, but it’s one of the biggest weapons in any advertiser’s arsenal.  Remember, if you’re only using display advertising you could be missing out on an ever-increasing number of people that are adopting ad blockers.






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