It’s a powerful question. The fact is that the number of people using ad blocking is continuing to grow, and the issue cannot be ignored just because it is inconvenient. At this point, about 5% of Internet users have jumped on the bandwagon and regularly block ads, which translate into billions of dollars. But does that mean ad blocking is the enemy?

The Ugly Side of Ad Blocking

Ad blocking costs us all money. Then again, we created this problem. So basically the marketing industry is reaping what it has sown. People use ad block for one of several reasons:

  • Too many ads
  • Ads in the wrong place
  • Ads at the wrong time
  • Poor-quality ads
  • Ads are stuffed with malware

The blame stretches across the entire industry and beyond. It becomes a “what-if” game. What if we produced better ads? What if publishers didn’t make the ads so intrusive? What if the whole industry was honest, and no ads triggered malware downloads?

What Ad Blocking Has Taught Us

If we have learned anything from ad blocking, it is that we need to allow users to enjoy their Internet experience. Ads that are less intrusive, more natural, and genuinely engaging are less likely to drive users to block them.

The other thing that needs to be addressed is transparency. We need to be able to trust ad networks not to run shady ads containing malware. Before we all point the finger at each other, we have to look at ourselves and ask, “What role have I played in perpetuating the problem?” Then we can all start working together to create a world where ad blocking is for the relatively few who simply can’t be pleased.

Where to Start

For marketers, the starting place is content. We have to look at our strategy for developing content. It can’t just be high volume churned out at a cheap rate. Focus needs to switch to quality. After all, if we can erase some of the $40 billion or more that ad blocking costs the industry, we can spend a lot more on content, and still achieve a greater return.

It’s time to convince users that blocking ads causes them to miss out on stunning content.