Even Facebook is tired of being bullied by ad blockers. The social network announced this month plans to make it harder for ad-blocking software to detect whether a post is a status update or a sponsored ad when Facebook is viewed on a desktop.
Publishers have been trying to outwit ad blockers for a while now. A 2015 report by Adobe and PageFair estimated that $21.8 billion in ads were blocked in 2014 and the Newspaper Association of America recently filed a complaint against ad blockers with the Federal Trade Commission.
Although new to the fight, Facebook listed ad-blocking software as a risk in its recent annual 10-K filing with the SEC. This is not surprising considering that Facebook earns a majority of its revenue from advertising.
“Revenue generated from the display ads on personal computers has been impacted by the technologies from time to time,” Facebook wrote in its filing. “As a result, these technologies have had an adverse effect on our financial results and, if such technologies continue to proliferate, in particular with respect to mobile platforms, our financial results may be harmed.”
Meanwhile, the number of internet users employing ad-blocking software continues to grow. More than one-quarter of US internet users claim they have used an ad blocker on their desktop or laptop, according to a July 2016 report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
The IAB report, “Who Blocks Ads, Why, and How To Win Them Back,” find that two-thirds of U.S. consumers using ad-blocking software could be convinced to uninstall the software if publishers would:
- Ensure ads don’t have auto-play audio or video.
- Make sure ads don’t block content.
- Safeguard users from ads that are infected with malware and viruses.
- Guarantee that ads won’t slow down browser speeds.
The message for publishers, the report says, is don’t disrupt the reader’s flow. Ads that block content, long video ads before short video content, ads that follow down the page, autoplay, slow loading (especially on mobile), pop-ups or full-page ads are driving consumers to install ad-blocking software.