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Rising Concern of Ad Blocking Software

Yahoo! Tech & Brand Republic 12th October 2015


h-a-l-t.pngWeb psychologist, Nathalie Nahai, speaking at The Knowledge Guild (on technology and trust) warned that new Ad Blocking software, which is seeing huge take-up from users, could prove to be disastrous for advertising companies and online sellers. 

Ad blocking is available via website browsers with Google Chrome and Safari allowing users to ‘add-on’ the AdBlock software. By doing so, banners, adverts and pop-ups are removed from websites the user visits.

The software which is already popular on desktops - with ‘anti adblocking’ website Page Fair suggesting by mid 2015 downloads had reached around 220 million worldwide - mobile ad blocking is currently low at 1.6% but that will change, say Yahoo Tech, with Apple’s latest iOS 9 software update allowing users to block ad content on their mobiles.

With losses predicted at around $21 billion this year (Abode report) and doubling in 2016 ensures this is going to be a big problem for those advertising companies or those companies that rely heavily on online marketing for their revenue.

Amy Dabs, head of digital at MEC Singapore, writing in Brand Republic looks into the motivation of users adopting this software saying that it “is predominantly a result of consumers becoming more conscious of being stalked’ with advertisers intensifying the “…‘nearly boughts’ around the internet with relentless retargeting”. Dabs suggests that “Despite our greatest efforts, has the ability to pinpoint our audiences to such minute detail started to work against us?”.

This insightful question may suggest a way forward for advertisers in renegotiating the relationship between advertiser and user. Could it be one that is based on a two-way conversation or the further development of existing (yet currently limited) software that allows users to tailor their advertising?

Dabs suggests that advertisers should  "respect the privacy of users and avoid intrusive, unimaginative advertising, thus truly putting the consumer at the heart of what we do". This message coalesces with Nathalie Nahai's, who speaking at the same Knowledge Guild event, argued that online sellers need to build trust by avoiding pressure tactics and manipulation in favour of ‘assisting customers to achieve their goals’.


Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: "Stop2" by Renesis - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 

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