What’s the Deal with Ad Blocking?

Ad blocking is not a new phenomenon – there have long been different software options for consumers who want to avoid ads – but it’s reaching a fever pitch right now.

Tools that block online ads are becoming hugely popular, with close to 200 million people worldwide using ad blocking software each month. And Apple recently unveiled its new iOS 9 mobile operating system, which allows app developers to create ad blocking software for Safari’s mobile browser. The day after the release, ad blockers topped the app store’s most downloaded list.

There’s a heated debate going on about the rise of ad blocking and what it means for the future – but everyone seems to agree that it’s shaking up the way we interact with online content. Here are a few perspectives from people in the thick of it:

  • “What has happened over the last 10 years, especially on mobile, is that ads have become larger and more intrusive,” said Chris Aljoudi, a software developer for the Purify ad blocking app. “They vastly degrade the experience… The reason Apple iOS ad-blocking has gotten so much attention is because of the vast effects on experience [on mobile].”
  • “We messed up,” wrote Scott Cunningham, senior vice president of technology and ad operations at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in a mea culpa statement. “As technologists, tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of user experience.” He also added that IAB will be launching LEAN Ads (light, encrypted, ad-choice-supported and non-invasive) to create a more user-friendly experience.
  • “We’ve created this problem together,” Steve Carbone, managing director and head of digital and analytics, Mediacom. “It created a bad experience, and users are now voting everybody off the island. We have to start creating quality ad content that [consumers] are capable to see value in it.”

And while brands and advertisers are scrambling to figure out how to keep digital advertising relevant now that ad blocking is here to stay, consumers are actually seeking out information from influencers they follow on blogs and social media.

“Influencer marketing is the new king of content,” according to Adweek:

  • 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content.
  • 70% say that online reviews are their second-most-trusted source, and 47% of U.S. readers head to blogs for trends and ideas.
  • 35% of U.S. readers go to blogs to discover new products.

Consumers trust influencers in a way that they simply don’t trust ads. They get to know bloggers and social media personalities that they like and value, and when those influencers make a recommendation, it holds a lot of weight. Consumers might block or ignore a digital ad, but they’ll pay attention to a blog post,  a video or an Instagram photo from someone they trust.

Stay tuned for more on influencer marketing in upcoming posts – and learn more about MtoM’s unique approach.

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