How to Respond to Ad Blocking

How to Respond to Ad Blocking

The stats speak for themselves. Ad blocking continues to rise, and regardless of your side on this debate, anyone involved in marketing-related work needs to take notice. At Jersey Watch, this is an important topic as a large portion of our revenue is based on digital advertising from our sponsors. The logic is pretty simple… as ad blockers increase, our potential assets decrease, and revenues might suffer as a result. We are not the only ones, and recent estimates state that $35 Billion in ad revenue will be lost by 2020.

So as an advertiser or brand manager, how should you respond to this accelerating trend?

“Double Down” on knowing your audience

Sure, ad blocking is on the rise, but should it even matter to you as a marketer? In the short-term, the answer is “it depends on your audience”. If you are after a younger, millennial audience, this trend is for you, and in a big way. Nearly two in three millennials use ad blockers and a recent study finds ad blocking use inversely related to age. It makes sense to us, right? The younger, more tech-savvy audience views ad blocking, and ad blocking tools, through a much different lens than older generations that are more comfortable with typical ad delivery. Often, for older demographics there is limited knowledge and lack of understanding that they can block ads. A recent survey found 80% of those who know about ad blockers, use them. (source)

In the long-term, regardless of your intended audience, ad blocking must be taken into the equation, as young consumers age and adoption rates increase. Demographic variance on usage rates will continue, but overall ad blocking use will certainly rise.

Find channels with strong native offerings

A second response for marketers to ad blocking trends is finding more channels and publishers with native ad offerings that are immune to blocking. Think Facebook ads, sponsored news posts and other heavily-integrated advertising on websites and applications (a few great examples). A good definition for native advertising is “distributing sponsored content on a site or media outlet that contributes to the message of the brand, and is related to the content already published on the site” (thanks, Ana Reyes). Because of native ads’ tight integration with the content and website, consumers are more likely to engage, click and respond with the advertiser’s message.

In the sports industry, we love the work that Vox Media’s SB Nation continues to put out from a native advertising offering. It is usually timely, heavily integrated and valuable content that is tightly woven into their site experience. At Jersey Watch, we are working on a new Sponsored News Feed ad platform that will integrate our partners in a native experience directly on team websites. We will share a few blog posts in the upcoming months as we get closer to launch.

Regardless of the channel, in this age of increasing ad blocking, native advertising must be part of your marketing mix.

Relax, it’s impacting everyone

It’s time for a deep breath. Yes, ad blocking is increasing and it will have real revenue implications on the marketing world. But it is a small drip in a massive digital advertising ocean, that is rapidly growing. Digital display campaigns will still offer value and your competitors are dealing with the same adversity from this trend that you are.

This isn’t a doomsday scenario, but savvy-marketers are staying current on this trend.


Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you and learn more on this topic. Email is best. (david@jerseywatch.com).

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