Why ad blocking is a chance for brands to reach a relevant user audience
Ad blocking is often seen as a hindrance or threat to online advertising. What if we said it was a great way for brands to find quality audiences? Sounds counterintuitive, right?
Ad blocking didn’t magically pop into existence. It appeared because there was a problem, and users had to find a solution:
- online advertising has a long history of not respecting its audience. Shoving intrusive ads into every on-screen nook and cranny degrades the user experience.
- the users found ways to fight fire with fire by installing ad blockers and cleaning up their screens.
This scenario didn’t stop after one iteration. Now we have an arms race between advertisers and users. Advertisers use increasingly intrusive ad formats. Users find ever more sophisticated means to make these ads go away. In the middle, is a handful of people who block ads, content or both, trying to provide solutions according to their own stance on the continuum of complete advertising revenue versus total user choice.
That leaves brands and advertisers in a conundrum. Do we try to force our way onto people’s screens? Or do we find the sweet spot where people accept our ads and see them as an integral part of the online experience?
In the end, what brands want is the ability to reach, at scale, quality audiences that want to hear their message. There are differing opinions about what a “quality audience” is, but I hope we’d agree — and we do(!) — on the following:
- audiences who are verifiably human and not bots (an always-present and ever-growing concern)
- audiences who will not have an immediate negative reaction to seeing ads
- audiences who know they're in control of their browsing experience.
- audiences who are open to view non-intrusive ads in exchange for free content.
Acceptable Ads is the only place where one can find this valuable yet elusive audience.
Let’s do the math. According to research conducted by HubSpot, 83 percent of surveyed users are willing to see non-intrusive ads and 77 percent would prefer to just block some ads, not all of them. That means there are millions of users available to interested brands.
And indeed, the opt-out rate for Acceptable Ads hovers between eight and 10 percent, meaning that there are somewhere north of 130 million ad-blocking users who are viewing more respectable ads. Add to this that strict compliance Acceptable Ads criteria for size and placement means lowered ad density on any given web page — and the whole package means that brands can reach the most important demographic (young, educated, tech-savvy) people, all by themselves on a webpage, without the “clutter” of other brands screaming for attention.