Mobile Ad Blocking: It’s Time To Stop Hiding Under A Rock

Ad blocking has been around for about 10 years already, but it was mostly for hardcore users who knew what they were doing and had a better understanding of the users always when interacting with them. This is nothing unique to digital, as TV ad blocking is either switching the channel or nowadays just skip through the recording. In digital we just have a better understanding of how the user is using ad blocker and how we could fight it.

Here’s the tl;dr version, in case you’re in a hurry…

  • Ad blocking ain’t new
  • Users are tired of intrusive, spammy ads
  • Ad blocking on mobile has grown in popularity
  • Some big publishers are already looking at removing traditional ads from their site
  • Fewer, more interesting, engaging ads will be the best long-term solution

What is the real situation today?

The reason why people are using ad blockers today is because the advertisements we are presenting them with are, frankly, crap. We try to shove as much of this crap towards them as possible. Mobile ad blocking has also gained a lot of fans recently. According to a recent PageFair report, at least 419 million people are blocking mobile ads on the web (that’s 22% of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users).


Most ad block users will most likely never switch off their ad blocking tools. As an industry, the best chance we have to combat this situation is with fewer, more engaging advertisements. “But fewer ads means less money!” I hear the world’s publishers cry.

But hang on, hear me out on this…

Take a look at what the New York Times, for example, is experimenting with. They’re toying with the idea of the own placement types that more natively suit the appearance of the site in an effort to keep ad revenue secure while keeping user experience close to the top of the agenda.

Their switch is coming from the hate towards placements that are small and boring like the most popular placements 300×250, 728×90, 468×60 etc.

In the rush to monetize their digital platforms the industry forgot the basics. We must always engage the user from the first moment rather than just show him as many advertisements in the shortest possible time.

So, I need to create my own proprietary ad format?!

Well, no – that’s just the way one publisher is tackling the issue.

The problem is that publishers are selling their inventory short and could make up for the losses with creatives that engage the users and in return increase the CTR of the advertisements.

We can use the same popular formats that you are using, but provide the formats with more depth and real estate. For instance, what if we could access the gyroscope that is used inside the smartphone to make the small 300×250 format a window to a large exciting world?

With platforms that engage the user from the first moment they see the advertisement, we can truly create thumb stopping mobile advertisements. On a mobile device having thumb stopping advertisements is basically all an advertiser can ask for from an in-feed creative.

What platform should I use?

As a publisher, you can there are many options out there when it comes to mobile ad tools. I’m going to cover 3 here (and, yes, it will include Adcanvas – this is the Adcanvas blog after all).


Probably the biggest name in the rich media mobile ad space at the moment, most of their formats are video focused. Which is great, up to a point. Video can deliver great results for both publishers and advertisers alike. But it can put a strain on page load speed, particularly when more than one in-feed ad appears on the page.


Adssets also offers video, like Celtra. They also offer things like panoramas for greater interactivity. Now we’re starting to get somewhere. But hang on, peel back the hood on both of these and you reveal a problem. The technology powering these ads.

You see, both Celtra and Adssets are HTML5 based. HTML5 is great. For what is was supposed to do at least. When it comes to mobile ads, HTML5 is like one of those terrible Toyota MR2 conversion kits that make it look like a Ferrari 360. Okay, yeah, it looks alright, but you push it and it’s going to disintegrate on you.


So, here’s the obligatory sales pitch. But I’ll keep it brief. Adcanvas offers interactive mobile ads. These ads can use gyroscopes (and more) that to create that interactive experience. It offers panorama, 3D objects with shaders. Most importantly, it’s super-lightweight and isn’t based on HTML5.

Will great platforms like these stop ad blocking?

Using great platforms to engage users is just the start. If you can monetize your inventory with better creatives, then you can get more users on your site and bring a positive ROI for your clients. Every client in the world would be happy to receive an engaged user on their site!

In addition to taking advantage of these great platforms that offer a wide variety of genuinely great ad solutions. You must stop bothering your user with hundreds of creatives taking up the users’ screen. Focus on quality rather than quantity. The more you bomb your loyal customers the less loyal they will get.

In the end users, will stay on sites that understand you respect them by both offering them creative advertisements and not annoying them too much. It’s all about mutual respect!