For more than a decade, the advertising industry has viewed consumers of digital content as almost binary; users blocking ads and non-blocking users. However, as industry and technology have evolved, this way of thinking is no longer valid or precise.
At Acceptable Ads, we strongly encourage the online advertising community to now consider the advertising experience of three very different types of online users: standard users, non-addressable users, and ad filter users.
Standard users are those who do not use ad blocker or ad filtering software to limit or block online ads from their online browsing experience.
Non-addressable users, on the other hand, are the segment of ad-blocking hardcore users who prefer to pay for online content to avoid seeing the ads entirely online.
Finally, in between these two extremes, there is a segment of over 200 million ad filter users: those who are tired of being distracted by invasive online ads but who understand the critical importance of ads to sustainability. of a free Internet ecosystem. These users, some 200 million people, see fewer ads, and the ones they see are less invasive.
With global digital advertising spending expected to reach $ 332.84 billion in 2020, accounting for more than half (52%) of all ad spend for the first time, it’s high time advertisers started looking further. near the real value of advertising among the different types of online advertising. users.
Two different types of users blocking ads
It is critical that advertisers begin to make the important distinction between these last two types of online users: unaddressed users and ad filter users. This is because the vast majority of ad blocker users fall for the latter camp. That is, users who are much more interested in ad filtering than full blocks.
A key finding from a survey by YouGov last year found that not all ad blocker users hate all ads. They just have a lot less patience than standard users when it comes to more invasive ad formats that hurt their overall online experience.
We also know that a very small minority (5-7%) of Adblock Plus users choose to turn the setting off, which gives them a limited and less invasive ad experience and therefore blocks all ads. Confirmation that the vast majority of âad blockerâ users actually fit into this ad filter user group, reinforces the point for advertisers that this is not a âlostâ audience.
Standard User Banner Blindness
Now let’s come back to this first group of users, those classified as “standard”. While users who don’t block ads seem to be the most attractive group for advertisers, there is one often overlooked factor (related to this group) among brands: âbanner blindnessâ.
A lot of standard users have ignored or chosen not to use ad blocking or filtering software – not because they welcome invasive online ads, but simply because their brains have been trained to ignore. mostly banner ads. Hence “the blindness of the banners”.
The resulting (and measurable) growth in the underperformance of conventional banner ads over the past few years is testimony to this. And that’s exactly why at Acceptable Ads, we believe advertisers should reconsider the real value of investing in ever larger, flashier, more intrusive ads. To put it bluntly: yes, targeting standard users is indeed a way for advertisers to experiment and try out different types of ad formats. But, focusing their efforts on reaching an unaware audience, one could easily argue that advertisers waste hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Unaddressable hardcore blockers are a lost cause
At the opposite end of the spectrum are unaddressed users. While standard users have ignored or chosen not to use ad blocking or filtering software, non-addressable users have actively chosen to avoid viewing online ads entirely. In other words, these are users who block all ads or even pay for content to avoid ads.
For advertisers, focusing their efforts on reaching this audience is extremely difficult. They actively take steps to avoid being noticed. By continuing to try to engage with them, advertisers are not only wasting hundreds of millions of dollars, but they are also jeopardizing their brand image.
Ad filter users are much more “ad aware”
If we look at the data available on the advertising experiences of online users, it is this third compartment – the users who filter the ads – that have the most potential.
That’s why we advocate the Acceptable Ads standard. And we encourage advertisers to see the real value of online advertising that is both respectful and non-intrusive.
Advertisers around the world are already using acceptable ads to successfully deliver their messages to over 200 million users. Most importantly, the vast majority of these users are not “banner blind” (which is why they have chosen not to block all ads). They are simply more aware of advertising and also more aware of the necessary exchange of value between advertisers, content publishers and users that sustains the free and open Internet.
Additionally, these users are more likely to spend more online and discover brands online more frequently than standard users. Additionally, if they like a product or service, they are more likely to recommend it as well. Above all, this is a very valuable and equally important audience that has the power to generate spending dollars at a time when investment is needed. They don’t hate ads. This is the reason why (provided advertisers provide them with creative ad formats and positive ad experiences), targeted banner ads are consistently proven to be the most effective among this segment of savvy online users.
Aditya Padhye, Managing Director, Trestle, eye