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

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

14 Expert Online Marketing Strategies For Minimizing The Impact Of Ad Blockers

Consumers turn to the internet to quickly and conveniently find the information and entertainment they want. To ensure they’re not distracted and annoyed by unwanted interruptions, many choose to enable ad blockers to improve their browsing experience. This means marketing agencies have to find creative ways to capture attention online.

Forbes Agency Council

The industry experts of Forbes Agency Council understand the limitations ad blockers bring to online marketing. They have tried-and-true techniques for developing marketing and information campaigns that reach target audiences on the Web without annoying or frustrating them. Maintain your ad revenue and build meaningful engagement with their advice.

1. Try To Find New And Optimal Locations For Your Ads

Ad blockers exist, but a world without ads is hard to imagine. Anywhere people are gathered, advertisers will be there as well. Companies should be focused on utilizing all the advancements in advertising as well as on trying to find the next gathering place or the ideal location for showing ads efficiently. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

2. Aim For Relevance Rather Than Reach

Ad blockers negatively affect the reach of a campaign. So, ad agencies should make sure they reach the right audiences. Start focusing on relevance rather than reach. – Jordi Marca, Gotoclient

3. Find Experts Who Can Work Around Ad Blockers

The best way to deal with the impact of ad blockers? Find a partner or expert with lots of experience in working around them. Even the savviest of agency strategists can stumble when it comes to keeping up with the ins and outs of ensuring your ads are visible to your target audience. Work with a specialist and lean on their expertise to help your campaigns reach their goals. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

4. Diversify Your Advertising Methods

Ad blockers can limit the number of eyes that see your ads and prevent agencies from fully reaching their target audience. To overcome this, diversify your advertising methods, find creative ways to seamlessly integrate ads into the content itself or, if all else fails, hire a specialist to work around the ad blockers. – Lion Shirdan, UPRISE Management

5. Invest In Earned Media

If you’re doing enough volume that ad blockers eat away a significant portion of your results, then you have the resources to invest in earned media, which will jump over every technical hurdle there ever was or will be. Even for smaller projects, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Without the third-party credibility of PR, your messages will eventually get too weak to convert. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR

6. Create Original Content And Engage Influencers

Ads get blocked because they can disrupt the journey. Every ad can be an obstacle if someone wants an answer to a question or desires to watch a specific video. Brands need to provide a solution to their customer’s problems by creating original content that users will seek out, engaging with influencers they follow and being there when consumers seek online reviews and tutorials. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

7. Focus On Native Advertising

Ad blockers can affect agencies’ work; there can be a significant impact on the performance of mobile PPC campaigns since there is a big chance your target audience won’t see the ads. A way to deal with this is to focus on native advertising since it looks, reads and appears like “true” content. – Jonas Muthoni, Deviate Agency

8. Leverage Nondisruptive Advertising Methods

Ad blocking has ushered in a new era of marketing, and the future for brands is being part of the content, not disrupting it. Marketers must leverage nondisruptive methods, including brand integrations across entertainment outlets from broadcasting to livestreaming. To identify the most impactful opportunities to avoid ad blocking, utilize AI to help sort through the crowded space. – Ricky Ray Butler, BEN

9. Design Relevant And Clever Ads

Ad blockers exist in part because ads can be very annoying and disruptive, particularly on mobile content. Our point of view is that ads need to be relevant, targeted to the right audience, and well-designed and clever—like an interesting billboard—to pique interest. If you create such ads, your results will be better and you will annoy people less. Don’t overdo the recency and frequency on retargeting. Be interesting. – Megan Devine, d.trio marketing group

10. Create Holistic Campaigns

As marketers and good people, we should respect ad blockers. With that being said, it’s important to have a holistic brand marketing campaign that doesn’t rely on only one type of media channel (paid). Content, social media and email are also channels that aren’t “blocked,” per se. – Stefan Katanic, Veza Digital

11. Utilize Influencer Marketing

Accept the clear message that consumers are giving you: They don’t want to see disruptive advertising. Brands no longer talk to consumers. Instead, consumers talk to other consumers about brands. Influencer marketing penetrates through ad blockers because social media is a closed ecosystem. It yields better results because it feels like a recommendation from a trusted friend. – Christoph Kastenholz, Pulse Advertising

12. Choose Your Ad Space Wisely

If anything, ad blockers should push agencies to innovate better methods of messaging. Ad blockers exist because people don’t want to see disruptive ads. Ad blindness might as well be a built-in human ad blocker, anyway. The best solution is to choose ad space more wisely and find a space where it’s unlikely to be blocked. Find better channels for information so you don’t need to rely heavily on banner ads or blocked content. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

13. Leverage Precision Targeting

I believe that the adoption of ad blockers is a signal that we, as advertisers, need to up our game. If we delivered more relevant, timely and interesting ad content to Web browsers, they would not feel the need to block ads. We need to deliver more engaging ad content through precision targeting of our ideal audience with less reach- and frequency-focused buying. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions

14. Ramp Up Your Offline Efforts

If one form of media poses challenges, look for other, more welcoming forms of paid media. Offline, outdoor and podcast media are all great options to explore for reaching your audience and generating ROI. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC