Ad Blocking Wars

The recent past has been brutal for traditional publishers. Online publications were faster, cheaper (in many cases free), and they offered superior image quality and ultimately video. Tablets and smartphones have further changed the way we consume content and view advertisements.

The providers of free content covered their costs by selling advertising, initially unsophisticated banner ads but increasingly the data that was acquired about consumer behavior allowed the development and delivery of highly targeted advertising….but even targeted advertising can be annoying and users have discovered that by using ad-blocking software they don’t have to be exposed to advertising (and its perceived risks) if they don’t want to be.

According to the Digital News Report 2016, published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, at least one in five online consumers uses ad-blocking software across most major markets. And the ad-blocking trend is here to stay: usage of ad-blocking tools is by far the most prevalent among young consumers, indicating that the proportion of people blocking ads from their online experience will likely rise in the future.


Ironically, given that online advertising accounts for 90% of Google’s revenue, it’s Google Chrome, not Apple’s Safari, that’s been driving most of the adblock growth. Ad block use on Google’s browser increased 51% from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015, reaching 126 million average monthly active users.

According to PageFair and Adobe, the economic cost of ad blocking—in terms of lost ad revenue—topped $21 billion in 2015 and will nearly double again this year. “This has the potential,” the report concludes, “to challenge the viability of the web as a platform for the distribution of free ad-supported content.”

In response to the rise of ad-blocking software, consumer brands such as L’Oréal, a French cosmetics company, has agreed deals with a number of opinion leaders on social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. Some of these arrangements are commercial in nature and if that’s the case that is always made clear by L’Oréal. If there is one thing people hate more than online ads, it’s being misled by product endorsements that aren’t disclosed as being commercial in nature.

Marie Lopez, Creator of EnjoyPhoenix Source: Wikipedia

Marie Lopez is a good example of a L’Oréal opinion leader. At the age of 16 she launched her channel EnjoyPhoenix in March 2011. She now has 2.5 million followers and appears weekly on  L’Oréal’s Maybelline YouTube Channel.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

About adriangstewart

Senior executive with expert knowledge of all aspects of strategic marketing and a track record of creating sustainable competitive advantage. International management and leadership experience in both B2B and B2C organizations. Specialties:Strategic marketing management including; new product development, product life cycle management, business relationship management, market segmentation, marketing information systems, e-commerce and social media marketing.
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