The monumental increase of Ad Blockers, the death of PPC and the end of digital advertising
No one can deny that the use of free Ad Blockers such as Ad Block Plus and U Block Origin are gaining momentum. The increase, particularly by millennials is astonishing with increases from just over 20 million users to 198 million last year. This continues to increase at a rate of 70% year on year and whilst statistically only 15% of internet users in the UK & US currently have Ad Block installed, over 30% of internet users in France & Germany use such software. At these growth rates, the writing is very firmly on the wall and the days of digital advertising are numbered. In fact, digital advertising will largely become extinct within a few years.
This certainly raises questions regarding the effectiveness of digital advertising and as a test, I decided to install Ad Block Plus on my own devices. What I found particularly interesting was the fact that at first, I didn’t really notice too much of a difference. I admit, my internet browsing speeds were noticeably quicker but upon looking at the stats from the Ad Block software, it had suppressed over 4000 Ads in the space of a few days! Giving this further thought, I guess over many years my mind had become conditioned to filter out general advertisements during the course of browsing anyway. Indeed, I have never recollected ever having clicked on a digital ad but the presence of remarketing from automotive manufacturers or garden shed companies couldn’t be more annoying.
So, with Ad Block Plus installed, no scrolling ads, no banner ads, no LinkedIn ads, no Google Ads – it does make the browsing experience that much better but has serious ramifications for “free” online content and it will almost certainly see the demise of PPC longer term.
The future? With the demise of PPC, SEO will become ever more important but the first page of any search results will be the presence of the largest players in any given industry sectors - largely dictated by SEO strategy and budgets. Publishers will increasingly move to restricting free content and the paid online subscription model, but is it all bad news for Publishers? Not necessarily, as I think there will be an increase in online subscription numbers if Publishers universally move to this model. I also think we’ll see a small degree of reversion into more traditional revenue streams such as print media advertising.
The demise of digital advertising has large repercussions for Digital Marketing Agencies, Publishers and staff wholly involved in online marketing but perhaps the tide has to turn and these budgets will revert into more traditional marketing channels? The growth of digital and e-mail marketing has been prolific across the last decade but Ad Blockers and EU legislation (the right to be forgotten, tracking and explicit e-mail opt in) will force marketers to think again about effectively seeking engagement and demonstrating P&L related results via more traditional marketing methods.
The latest full report published by Adobe and PageFair can be viewed here: