14 Smart Ways For Agencies To Deal With The Impact Of Ad Blockers

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Significant numbers of people use ad blockers, with estimates ranging from about a quarter to a little less than half of all internet users worldwide. The desire to rid the online experience of digital ads is understandable, given how annoying it is for users to see repetitive, intrusive pop-up ads for products in which they may have only once indicated mild interest, or not at all. But ad blockers can make it challenging for digital marketers and advertisers to execute their jobs well.

Whether their audiences are leveraging ad blocking software or using browsers with built-in ad blocking capabilities, agency pros are developing solutions to overcome the obstacles they present. Here, members of Forbes Agency Council outline different ways ad blockers affect agency work and how their agencies are addressing the impact.

Featured members share smart ways for agencies to deal with the impact of ad blockers.

1. Diversify Efforts In Less Impacted Areas
Ad blockers reduce reach, but is the reach even what we wanted to pay for? Someone who doesn’t want ads is likely to ignore them anyway. So blockers may help narrow an audience to more relevant prospects, but diversifying efforts in areas that are less impacted by blockers is the most crucial step. Leveraging email, search and helpful content will keep the right users seeing you and moving through the funnel. – Brian Walker, Statwax

2. Never Rely On Ads Alone To Help Clients
Remember when streaming was going to kill TV advertising? Remember when everything digital was going to get rid of paper? There are always changes to what we know; the truth is, we adapt or go out of business. Any agency that was relying on ads alone to help their clients was ignoring a large part of the equation. Successful marketing relies on engaging your clients at a point in time that suits them, not you! – Hamish Anderson, Three Piece Marketing

3. Collect Zero- And First-Party Data For Marketing
Ad blockers are not new to our industry, but the ways we deal with them continue to evolve. Zero- and first-party data is our best friend when it comes to implementing a worthwhile solution and practice to gather accurate and usable consumer insights. Especially now, with updated privacy efforts, how agencies and brands collect zero- and first-party data for marketing efforts makes a difference. – Josh Perlstein, Response Media

4. Use Channels Where Users Watch Ads To Access Content
Ad blockers are a customer’s choice. Instead of dealing with them, move toward channels that encourage ad viewing as a prerequisite for watching video content so that there is a trade-off of the consumers’ attention for the programming they want to view. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Create Quality Content And New Revenue Sources
Ad blockers are here to stay, so agencies need to find ways to deal with them. Agencies can focus more on creating quality content that will be worth consumers’ time even if it cannot be monetized through advertising. Another approach is for agencies to develop new sources of revenue, such as offering services such as consulting or search engine optimization in addition to traditional advertising services. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

6. Try To Reach Audiences Through Many Platforms
It’s all about diversifying your marketing efforts. If a business was 100% dependent on ads, then ad blockers definitely put a big dent in their revenue. However, if you also reach people through social media, content marketing or emails, then the effects of ad blockers start to diminish. The key is to try to reach your audience through as many platforms as you can, including inbound. – Rafael Romis, Weberous Web Design

7. Focus More On In-App Ads Than Ads On Browsers
A lot of ad blockers are more focused on browsers, so optimizing for in-app ads that appear on people’s phones typically alleviates this issue. It’s much more difficult to block ads in apps such as Instagram. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

8. Create Immersive Ads Or Natural Ads
Creating immersive ads or natural ads is an effective strategy for counteracting the effects of ad blockers. Sometimes, they can be even more effective. For instance, while Netflix didn’t have ads for most of its existence, it negotiated in-content product placements that worked products into scripts in such a way that viewers didn’t even realize they were being advertised to. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

9. Leverage Organic Inbound Marketing And PR
Our agency focuses mainly on organic inbound marketing and public relations, so ad blocking has little to no negative impact on our campaigns. In fact, the more consumers use ad blocking and the less they trust ads, the more engagement, trust and traction we see our content and campaigns gaining on behalf of our clients. So in all honesty, ad blockers are great for adding greater demand to our agency’s solutions. – Azadeh Williams, AZK Media

10. Try Emails, Text Messages And Push Notifications
Ad blocking impacts just one channel in the grander scheme of things. As an agency owner, being creative is my job, and while ad blockers do impact numbers on digital, there are still emails and text messages and push notifications! If you see that your ads aren’t getting traction, think of other channels. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

11. Pivot To Other Forms Of Digital Marketing
Ad blockers on various platforms often lead to necessary changes in ad types and audience targeting, and if necessary, even pivoting to other forms of digital marketing. For example, can’t reach Apple customers because of an iOS update? Target Android devices. If it’s getting harder to bring in new customers, focus more on incentivizing repeat purchases from your customers via email or text. – Bernard May, National Positions

12. Offer Quality Content And Email Campaigns To Opt-In Users
It’s clear that users prefer ad blockers. Google is even ending third-party cookies on Chrome to enhance privacy. Agencies dependent on ad clicks will need to adapt by offering quality content and email campaigns to users who opt in. At the end of the day, this approach will deliver more qualified leads. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

13. Don’t Focus On Ad Blockers, Just Create Engaging Campaigns
Ad blockers are reality for marketers and a completely valid way for internet users to create a more private and enjoyable online experience for themselves. At our agency, we don’t see ad blockers as anything to deal with; rather, our job is to create engaging, useful and creative ad campaigns and target the most ideal users. – Dejan Popovic, PopArt Studio

14. Develop Every Channel To Reach New Audiences
If ads are blocked, the ad is non-viewable, and the impression will not be charged. For agencies, this makes ads more efficient because the user who does not engage with ads is self-removed. This also reinforces that brands should not rely on any one channel or any one platform but instead develop every channel to reach new audiences. – Justin Buckley, ATTN Agency

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