Photo of online advertising analytics

How Effective Is Advertising Online?

After invasive ads became popular, so did ad-blocking services.
December 16, 2022
6 mins read

If a website asks a user to turn off their adblocker — even with a please and explanation as to why — their request is often ignored, especially by millennials and Gen Z. In fact, the very first add-on extension to block ads came out in 2002, and since its release, it has only increased in usage and popularity. Now, over 40% of internet users across the world use some form of ad-blocking extension. With more and more people blocking ads, many have come to question the effectiveness of online advertising. Perhaps there are ways for companies to get their advertisements through the blockers. If not, internet ads may be on their way out.

Why People Use Adblockers

According to Insider Intelligence, most consumers “proactively avoid advertising” by using ad-blocking extensions. A few other methods to avoid ads include paying for premium ad-free subscriptions or skipping ads when the option is given. Users cited privacy concerns, collection of data and increased loading speeds as reasons for blocking ads. However, some people shared a sentiment which most of us will find relatable: ads are downright “interruptive or annoying.”

People who keep their distance from ads due to privacy concerns may worry about how certain websites and apps use their data. Some apps track their consumers‘ activity and collect their information to display targeted ads. The idea is that targeted advertising helps businesses pinpoint the best people to market certain brands or products to. To advertisers’ dismay, consumers today are catching onto their tracking tactics and taking up measures against their intrusiveness.

Targeted Ads Are Worrisome

Most people have researched something on Google only to see ads about that same thing shortly or even long after their single search is over. Worse, some consumers feel that ads are targeted to them based on what their devices have learned from listening in on them. Despite the benefits businesses can reap from delivering relevant ads, some companies are beginning to acknowledge the worries of consumers. Recently, tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook have announced plans to change how data is collected and sold. Some of these plans include disabling certain tracking algorithms altogether, effectively putting an end to the eavesdropping phenomenon.

Some business owners who rely on targeted advertisement to find their customers have raised concerns. They worry that reducing the ad-tracking practices that have become standard will be bad for their businesses. However, when so many consumers continuously dodge ads, will changes in the algorithm really have much of an impact?

Some Forms of Advertising Are Better Than Others

While certain forms of advertisement like video ads are universally disliked, people have shown that they may be okay with them on occasion. For example, with Hulu, people often pay for cheaper subscription plans that include ads. This trade-off means that consumers are sometimes willing to view ads as long as it means that their streaming services will be cheap. In a 2022 study, 55% of consumers indicated that would be more likely to choose a free or cheap streaming service that had ads over a more expensive service that was ad-free. Websites that are free to access — such as Facebook and Instagram — are also extremely popular among consumers. Some users have said that they are okay with seeing internet ads as long as they “aren’t intrusive.” When tailoring their ads, businesses must keep these concerns in mind.

Social Media Is Heavily Saturated With Ads

These days, approximately 43% of people conduct their product research using social media platforms. Despite this, most social media apps are completely saturated with advertising of all kinds. Even in the absence of ad-blocking technologies, people are often able to tune out these ubiquitous ads. To combat this, businesses need to understand what types of social media ads will grab their consumers’ attention. Unfortunately, however, a series of field experiments found that the effectiveness of advertising can be difficult to measure.

A large-scale study of ads on eBay found that ad effectiveness is overestimated by a harrowing 4,100%. While many people may click on ads and buy those products as a result, consumers typically don’t buy those products and services unless they were already prepared to do so. Also, businesses that saturate the market with ads day after day are more likely to scare off potential customers.

Ads Are Still Everywhere

From social media influencers to paid blog posts to video ads to sponsored product placement, online advertising is inescapable. While apps, creators and businesses use advertising to make money and convert new customers, these same customers often avoid ads that disrupt their ideal browsing experience. Furthermore, bigger and bigger companies are beginning to take data and privacy concerns seriously, which is changing the advertising landscape for good. These business models will continue to adapt and change over time, remaining as fluid as the product markets themselves.

Kane Howard, York College

Writer Profile

Kane Howard

York College

Kane Howard is an English major at York College. He has experience with writing both fiction and non-fiction works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss