Ad blocking has become a very popular topic in online advertising circles. The practice – in which users download technology that prevents display, video, social and search ads from loading on a page – has been part of the advertising landscape for years now. Yet the conversation has grown thanks to Apple’s announcement that its latest mobile operating system would allow consumers to use third-party apps to block ads on the Safari web browser. On top of that, the number of consumers using ad blockers in the U.S. grew by 48 percent in the past year, according to a report by Adobe and PageFair.
Of course, advertisers never pay for blocked impressions, because those ads are never served. Even more important is that, despite the recent growth, ad blockers are only used by a small portion of the public – about 16 percent of U.S. consumers.
Another element to consider is the audience. Those who take the time to download and deploy ad blocking technology for their desktop or mobile browsers are clearly indicating they do not have an interest in viewing ads. In the long run, this could actually help SMB advertisers by removing consumers who are not interested in advertising, thereby allowing them to better target the consumers who actually are open to their messages.
SMB-focused companies that are or plan to sell programmatic campaigns to their local advertisers need to be aware of this issue and the potential impacts. While no one can predict with any certainty the long-term impact of ad blocking on desktop or mobile, we do not anticipate any short-term impact on inventory availability on desktop or mobile for our partners’ SMB customers’ campaigns. We will continue to monitor the impact and work with our DSP partners to ensure access to quality, targeted inventory for our customers’ SMB clients through the AffinityX AudienceX solution.