Whether you opened a spam email by accident or went to a website on the bad side of the internet, we’ve all had that experience once – though for most of us, it’s been several times. All it takes is a click, and suddenly myriad CPU-draining, eyeball-staining, Trojan-uploading pop-up ads flood you like a hail of cannon fire from English privateers seeking to capture you for violating one of the the Crown’s laws. Pop-up ads, and even more docile and reputable ads, are no one’s friend. They dance, sing and drain your battery and your patience.
Ad-blocking programs come to the rescue. They weed out the bad ads and turn your computer screen into a safe haven again. However, the ad may be blocked, but behind that radio silence are programmers or marketers planning their second moves. They only make money if you click through their ads, so being taken off the map is bad for them.
For every strong move your ad blocker makes, the ads themselves make a counterattack. This parry-and-thrust scenario is changing the face of how ad blockers work and digital marketing itself is evolving. What is the future of ad blockers, and how is their failure, their success and their presence alone going to improve your internet experience in a few unusual ways? I walk you through four points to consider regarding these questions.
1. Ad Blockers Are Making Digital Marketing More “Added Value” Centric
When a brand’s ads are blocked, the company loses a huge draw of customers to its site and services. Ad blocking effectively takes the company off the map. The company can then either invest in a software engineer and computer servers smart and capable enough to counteract what the ad-blocking program has achieved, or it can entice its customers with a real reward for visiting its site.
Instead of using a dancing box asking you to visit a site, marketers are turning to videos and blog posts that provide a real added value for customers. So you may have arrived on a site to learn about five great ways to do something, but you stayed for the site’s products or services. This style of marketing is not nefarious or annoying – in fact, most customers don’t even know it’s a campaign at all; they simply like what they see.
2. Ad Blockers Leave Room for Only the Serious Marketers
There are just a few scammers in the world. Ever click a pop-up ad out of curiosity or by accident? It takes you to the highway for a Trojan, that’s for sure, but many don’t even lead to the article, video or product advertised on the front page. The pop-up ad is just meant to mess with you for the pure, sick joy of frustrating an unsuspecting web surfer – and the people who create these styles of ads aren’t going to take the time to circumvent an ad blocker or redo their ad designs.
However, serious marketers, who seek to provide a real service or product, will take the time to adjust their ads, create blockers for the ad blocker and not be so annoying as to elicit your direct hatred along with a customized block on just them. Effectively, ad blocking in the future will be less of a war on ads and more of a steel door against bad ads.
3. The Simpler an Ad Is, the Better
Ad-blocking programs aren’t heartless; they’re out to stop the surprise porn pop-ups and the jingling boxes that drain your CPU, not the real ads from reputable brands. The way ad-blocking programs separate one ad from the next is in the design of the ad itself. So the more simple and tidy an ad is, the more likely it is to pass through ad blockers’ filters.
This situation is encouraging many marketers to simplify their ads so that they can increase their chances of getting on the map. Consequently, while your blocker may not be blocking an ad, you have to deal with only the non-annoying kind that you may actually be interested in clicking.
4. Ad Blockers Make Sure Success Talks
When you need a service or product, you want the business that’s been successful for a long time. Several ad-blocking programs remove exact brands from their blocks just as long as the companies have paid a fee, thereby enabling high-profile businesses to buy their way onto your computer.
This practice is actually good. If companies are willing to invest cash for a share of online eyeballs, then (1.) they’re successful companies that can afford to invest in this type of marketing and (2.) they’re serious enough about providing you a real service that they’d throw around money just for the privilege of getting a glance from you. That’s the kind of high-quality business you want, so the future of ad blocking means that the truly high-quality ads are the only ones you’ll find on your screen.
Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and freelance writer.