Are You a Victim of Ad Blocking?

August 24, 2016


If your business pumps money into Facebook advertising every month, you might not be getting the reach you once did.

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users have jumped on the ad blocker train to hide or flag advertisements. That’s bad news for businesses that rely on this form of marketing to promote products and services.

In recent months, the social media platform took steps to suppress organic posts deemed too promotional. It’s a shift that has likely driven more companies to pay for advertising. In fact, the social network now makes more than $1 billion per quarter in advertising revenue.

But if millions of users don’t want to see ads in their News Feeds, what’s a business to do?

You can rest assured that Facebook’s not about to sit back and watch its top moneymaker tank. Ads account for 96 per cent of the social network’s worldwide revenue, according to eMarketer. So, you have a heavy hitter on your team.

Here’s a recap of what’s happened so far in the war between Facebook and ad blockers:

  • On August 9, Facebook announces that ad blocker users will soon start to see ads again.
  • The social network says it will give users more options to better control the ads they see. In fact, they will be able to remove their names from company client lists and erase interests from their profiles, which advertisers use to target them.
  • On the same day as Facebook’s announcement, Adblock Plus – one of the most popular ad blockers in the world – publishes a blog that criticizes Facebook for alienating users and advertisers.
  • Two days later, Adblock Plus posts a blog on its website advising users how to start re-blocking ads on Facebook by manually adding a filter.
  • Adblock Plus expects Facebook to write code to render the filter useless and says the game of cat and mouse could continue indefinitely.

Should you stop advertising on Facebook?

The short answer to this is no. But lets break down the pros and cons of continuing to advertise with the social media giant.

Pros

  • Facebook advertising is still one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising for small businesses. Google ads have become pricier over the years. Facebook gives smaller companies a bigger bang for their buck.
  • While some people use ad blockers, the platform still has 1.71 billion monthly active users. That’s a big potential audience!
  • Advertisers can target based on demographics, geographics and interests, which increases a business’ chance of reaching the right audience or people who want to engage with their brands.

Cons

  • If users continue to circumvent Facebook’s efforts to prevent ad blocking, a business’ ads might not reach as many people as they once did.
  • Facebook has increased a user’s ability to change their account preferences to determine the types of ads they see. The ability to delete interests is something companies should keep a close eye on because interests help them target their ads. Access to fewer user interests could make ads less targeted.

Our Opinion

It’s too early to gauge the impact of the ad blocking war on the effectiveness of Facebook advertising. But businesses should continue to watch how Facebook changes its ad platform and rules in response to criticism and efforts to stop it from revealing ads to users.

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