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Millennials and Ad Blocking Versus the Ad Industry

For as long as ads have been around, people have been looking for ways to avoid them. To escape unwelcome interruptions, people were once forced to change the channel or radio station. However, a new player has been introduced to the game as primary consumption of media has shifted to online: ad blocking software.

There are many ad blocking and filtering programs to choose from, but in their most basic forms, these programs simply remove advertising from web pages and videos. Studies suggest that this past year, about 75 million Internet users in the United States were using an ad blocker, which is over a quarter of total U.S. Internet users. This phenomenon is even more apparent among younger users, with 41.1% of millennials estimated to have used ad blockers in 2017. Here are some important things to keep in mind while navigating this new landscape.

It’s more important than ever to optimize ads for mobile.

Only about 8% of mobile ads are thwarted by an ad blocker, most likely due to the fact that mobile ad blockers are not as effective as desktop ones. Therefore, it is extremely important that online ads are mobile friendly as well. Over half of millennials spend at least three hours a day on their phones, making mobile engagement critical to any ad campaign.

Ad block walls are divisive.

In an attempt to bypass ad blockers, many sites have turned to ad block walls that force the user to switch off their ad filtering programs before they are allowed to enter. However, studies show that nearly 74% of users simply click away from sites that try to use this tactic, especially if the information they’re looking for can be found elsewhere. It is more effective for websites to strategically curate quality, relevant ads that the viewer may be interested in seeing rather than forcing users to engage with intrusive advertisements.

Take it offline, too.

It doesn’t matter how groundbreaking your ad campaign is if no one sees it. Another way advertisers can avoid the ad block epidemic is by connecting with millennials off screen. A great brand experience will make its way online through word of mouth, whether the brand likes it or not. By advertising meaningfully, brands can create organic buzz about their products and avoid those pesky ad blockers.

Many people view ad blockers as a useful tool, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s up to us as advertisers to be clever about ad placement, making sure that we add to the user experience instead of detracting from it.

Doan Nguyen

Original Content Team


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Kathleen Mabley at 512-232-1417