Ad blockers are on the rise.
According to the Guardian (Nov 2015), 18% of British web users now use ad blockers. That’s up from 15% just a few months earlier.
This stat has caused a lot of nervousness in the internet advertising world. But I’m not worried.
You might expect me to be. After all, most of my income – whether from managing PPC accounts, or from writing sales copy for websites – is linked to paid online advertising.
So why am I not worried?
Google makes 90% of its income from AdWords advertisers. That’s $59bn. $45bn comes from ads on Google search, and the remaining $14bn from ads served on other websites (as adsense ads).
So, at the most basic level, the reason I’m not worried is that Google’s not going to surrender $14bn a year in ad revenue.
Here’s what I predict will happen
If ad blockers reach a certain level of popularity, Google will push back, and ad blocker users will see a message that says…
“It costs us money to provide the best possible search results.
The reason we’re able to provide them for free is because we earn revenue from advertising.
So, unfortunately, as you’re using an ad blocker, we’re no longer able to allow you to access Google.
If you’d like access, simply add the following exceptions to your ad blocking…”
And you have a choice: accept the ads, or go elsewhere.
Let’s say you go elsewhere. Let’s say you respond by saying, “Screw you, Google, I’m going to start using Bing.”
So then you go to Bing. And you discover that Bing has the same block on searchers using ad blockers. Because, surprise, surprise, Google and Bing have no desire to cut each other’s throats.
Then you say, “Screw you Google, and screw you Bing, I’m going to start using Yahoo…”.
And then you stop. And you ask yourself, “Did I really say I was going to use Yahoo search? Seriously? Yahoo? Yah-ewww?”.
Does anyone want to block Google ads so much that they’d rather use Yahoo?
You don’t screw Google, Google screws you
Google has the whip hand because you need search engines more than search engines need you.
And that’s why, in recent research, the Internet Advertising Bureau found that,
“61% of those who were told ad blocking would mean some websites would have to begin charging for content said they would rather see ads in return for access, with just 4% saying they would pay.”
So, as I said, I’m not worried. Google has this one under control.